The landscape here is strange and if you see a man in a pinstriped suit along the side of the broken road, you are advised not to stop. Keep your windows drawn shut and if you’re walking, run.
Still, you may be inclined to slow. I know how these things go. You will want to collect the postcards from this strange world. You will pause outside the tents, peer inside. In most cases, you will allow yourself to be drawn deeper, to see the young girls in their candy-colored dresses, to stroke your fingers over the fluff of a dandelion, to hear the possible rumbling of a scarecrow’s stomach. You will want to know why the men in the pinstriped suits do what they do, and how the frog came to meet his bride. You will bring a paper bird home as a souvenir.
This land may be called Wonderland or Nowhere, but whatever the name, Gardner maps it with careful, melancholy strokes. Where the map wanders is where it grows most distinct; “above us there is no sky,” and yet we don’t seem to care, transported to moments where we don’t need a sky.
Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits collects twenty-four stories from Gardner (ten of them exclusive to this volume), each one a strange and wonderful discovery. Gardner knows her way around this world and effortlessly gives readers a behind the scenes tour.
Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits, Cate Gardner from Strange Publications, 2010