Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week Tim Lane writes about The Neighbors We Want, his new novel out from Crooked Lane Books.
If The Neighbors We Want were a song, it would be the breakup tune from when you were a freshman in college, remixed by Girl Talk and popular in the club. But you only get to listen to it in your car when you are by yourself, waiting in the pickup line, five minutes late, coffee stain on your shirt, to get your kid from school.
If The Neighbors We Want were a fall fruit, it would be a persimmon. Never had a persimmon? You should try a persimmon! Sweet, complex, beautiful to look at and not just another apple.
If The Neighbors We Want were a cup of coffee it would be the first one of the morning. That thing you need, need, NEED, to get your day kicked off.
If The Neighbors We Want were a midnight snack, it would be a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with half and half eaten in the yellow square of refrigerator light and pausing between each crunchy chew to see if you’ve actually done the worst and managed to wake your sleeping child. Then you have a bowl (or three) too many and so when you go back to bed, all that sugar and milk sits like a basketball in your belly and you have uneasy dreams but wake up oddly satisfied.
If The Neighbors We Want were a time of the day, it would be dawn. You’re scratchy-eyed, the streets are bare, even the birds are just rousing, and yet, look at that light. It’s something else.
If The Neighbors We Want were a day, it would be staying home from school with pinkeye. You don’t actually feel all that bad but you get a day all to yourself. You stick around while your parents go to work, your siblings to school, and you indulge in things you normally couldn’t. You wander through your parent’s closets, your brother’s things, the back of the pantry. You watch daytime television and eat Hot Pockets. The day is both never-ending and over too soon.
If The Neighbors We Want were gossip it would be dishy and fun. Just enough disturbing that you mention it to your fellow parents, your friends, the neighbor over the back fence. It’s a story you can’t help but share, the kind that starts with, you’re never gonna believe this…
Tim Lane is the author of Rules for Becoming a Legend and his stories have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Emerald City, X-R-A-Y, and Monkeybicycle, among others. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two wild, wonderful boys. The Neighbors We Want is his second novel. Follow him on X at @TimothySLane.