Prose, chapbook, 36 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
New bridges sprout across Portland; a sabertooth cat roars atop the Moda Center; a cavalcade of matching bicycles pour into the Willamette River. The Last Dinosaurs of Portland contains ten stories set within cascading surrealist versions of Portland, Oregon. With innovative narrative structures and deadpan humor, this collection interrogates themes of migration, transformation, and gentrification.
“Within these pages is a surreal menagerie of animals, human and non-human, dead and alive, crossing the same bridges toward and away from each other. Ask what their relationship is to the city they traverse. It’s complex, tender, and alive, just like these stories.”
—Sarah Gerard, author of True Love
“These surreal flash fictions are like a field guide to contemporary urban life, a field guide we’re trying to read by lightning flashes during a rolling blackout. Flash: two dinosaurs in a tawdry back alley fight club long to connect but rip each other apart instead. Flash: a haunted attic reveals itself to be the place we’ve been longing for all along. Flash: the physical bridges of Portland are mirrored by dream bridges that reveal our hidden desires and insecurities. Ultimately these pieces speak to the broken emotional infrastructure of late stage capitalism, with its endless social media chatter and its bottomless sense of loss.”
—Emily Wortman-Wunder, author of Not a Thing to Comfort You
“From the beginning of this thoughtful and deeply satisfying collection, we know we are in good hands. At turns, poetic and deeply grounded in details, James R. Gapinski both evokes the bridges and parks of Portland and a realm where anything can happen, where dinosaurs fighting for loose change can be broadcast on the dark web, and dense flocks of birds can conjure both Hitchcock and the possibility of love. Although not a word is wasted, we learn about hidden pasts, missed connections and lost futures. I inhaled this in one sitting, but I will return to it again.”
—Anita Goveas, author of Families and Other Natural Disasters
James R. Gapinski is the author of Edge of the Known Bus Line—winner of the 2018 Etchings Press Novella Prize, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018, and a finalist for the 2019 Montaigne Medal. He’s also the author of two chapbooks: Fruit Rot and Messiah Tortoise. James lives with his partner in Portland, Oregon.
Bottlecap Features #9