The only true mirror is the funhouse one.

In the last 24 hours I’ve had the pleasure to experience two novel and fun works of art: The Exterior World, a sarcastic animation by David OReilly and Standard Loneliness Package, a kindhearted short story by Charles Yu.

Neither would be considered a realistic depiction and yet I found both honest and, in different ways, touching.

OReilly’s cartoon is full of impish gags and violent slapstick. It lampoons not so much its characters but the viewer’s cognitive and emotional limits. (A key scene involves a cat jumping through the gaps in our suspension of disbelief.) Perhaps OReilly delights in disabusing us of our sympathies.

Yu’s story, which chronicles a short-lived love affair in a surreal office, has an entirely different agenda: to reassure the reader that caring about illusions is noble.