Under the Sea by Mark Leidner
In Under the Sea, a high-school pariah tries to get her stolen drugs back, a married woman copes with death by having an affair, an insect gets drunk at the brink of a civil war, a social outcast loses her shit in a bougie café, a middle-aged man battles an interdimensional void, a middle-school student in waxes memoiristic about heartbreak, and a translator sends an email that ends his career. Blending absurdity and realism, meaning and banality, and love and death in equal measure, each tale weaves a portrait of our world that will leave readers thinking two things simultaneously: Oh the horror! Oh the beauty!
“In a literary world of fictional same old same old, Mark Leidner is a real deal original. In Under the Sea, Leidner leads us through a world of stolen drugs, weird tales about characters named Tzara-9, modern sickness, break-ups and anti-break-ups. There’s only one thing you can say about a writer like this: He’s a total bad ass.“
– Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book
“From the mean streets to the moon, the maze of an ant colony to the maze of elementary school memory, Leidner’s adroitness at showing us who we are, as well as all the wrong mirrors we’ve gazed into, is nothing short of miraculous.”
Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest