Even if Gina Tron’s short story collection Eggolio and Other Fables turned out to be an uninspired, sweaty piece of literary garbage, we’d still have that cover. I have been reviewing books for a little over a decade. Eggolio and Other Fables may feature one of the best covers I have ever seen. Illustrated by the stunning, clearly underrated Cora Foxx (I’m guessing, but I will also venture to say that whatever Cora is currently making as an illustrator, it’s not enough).
The scene is bizarre, hilarious. You will notice it amongst a thousand books, with a terrified child egg waiting for his perpetually-irritated parent to continue reading. It’s less of a warm family moment, and more of a hostage situation.
I’m spending a little too much time on the cover. Sorry. It’s just that charming to me. It also serves as the perfect introduction for Tron’s wonderful, painfully absurd characters, all of whom are just trying to do the best they can with their circumstances. Throughout stories like “My Chocolate Wife”, “Romantic Fairytale from 2001”, and “Gregorio and the Melon”, these circumstances are troubling in varying degrees. The circumstances of the stories also fall effortlessly into hilarious and unforgiving. One of the most beautiful things about that fact is how Tron can create that hilarious/unforgiving impression in a different way with each story. These stories follow a certain kind of tone, to be sure.
At the same time, the stories reveal that when it comes to making you feel as though you just combined shrooms with the 1994 film The Pagemaster, projected on a thousand 80” screens simultaneously, Tron has the talent to fuck with you in a multitude of ways. She has a swift, cruel knack for guiding her characters through brief, hysterical episodes, each of which manages to relate bleak comedy suffering in a singular fashion.
Eggolio and Other Fables establishes Gina Tron as one of the most essential satirists of this moment in time. Her fables remind us that no matter what, no matter how horrible things seem to be, you can probably find a way to make them funny. Humor allows us to comprehend and digest, and it can sometimes work wonders with even the most wretched tragedies. It really just comes down to how you structure your humor, your story, and your characters. Tron lights up the sky on all of those fronts. In a weird way, her stories represent a desire to maintain hope, even as things get so fucked up, you suspect that not even a really good pillow fort is going to save you.
If Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers was a real person, I have a feeling Eggolio and Other Fables would be the book she grew up to write.