Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.
Malone’s “first time” in which she said the joy of selling the first copies of her debut book was like a warm-honey feeling. Today, we turn our attention to the trailer for People Like You, a two-minute reel of film that will jar your senses and shake loose that honey from your bones. “What interests me most as a writer are the everyday, mundane ways that as humans we come together and fall apart,” Malone says in the trailer. Nowhere is this dry-crumble-but-still-together life better described than the opening, titular story of the collection (which I started reading last night while sitting in a bland chain restaurant in Billings, Montana, banks of competing sports-channel TVs chattering overhead and a boring slice of pizza on the plate before me). In “People Like You,” average American married couple Cheryl and Bert attend a surprise birthday party for a “friend” they don’t particularly like. They get lost en route, drink too much once there, and leave with some stolen balloons. On the surface, it’s an ordinary evening; but what sets this story apart, what gives it an electric buzz that tastes like you just licked a lamp socket, is what doesn’t happen. With remarkable restraint, Malone takes us on a tour of the tip of the iceberg without feeling the need to state the obvious: there's a massive, continent-sized chunk of ice right below our feet. A current of tension between Cheryl and Bert hums throughout the story. Their marriage is in free fall when we begin our 13-page eavesdrop and they’re both (or at least Cheryl is) frantically scrabbling their hands across their bodies, trying to find the ripcord that will open the marriage-saving parachute. It may or may not happen. That’s not the point. The point is the ride: the wry, jolting, cynical, sweet, hilarious ride Malone takes us on with her sentences. Sentences like: “We drive in silence for minutes, the inside-car hush of our motion, all the best-times feelings dissolving, the thick familiar air starts up between us. Me, driving. Him, sitting there.” I can’t wait to continue my journey through these pages. —Wait, wait! I haven’t even really talked about the trailer and how well it’s assembled by filmmaker Brian Padian (who also happens to be Malone’s husband) and the way those noirish, off-focus black-and-white images form the perfect marriage (unlike that of Cheryl and Bart) with the music and Malone’s narration. It is simultaneously beautiful and unsettling. Much like the stories themselves.