From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet
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From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  9 reviews
“Place is a character in Patrick Michael Finn’s fiction. It's almost as if the setting, like the working-class characters who people his stories, has an ethnicity. The characters try to go on with their lives while the place broods and mourns around them. And all the while the narratives driven by credible psychological pressure grow increasingly threatening until the eleg...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Black Lawrence Press (first published March 1st 2011)
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Adrian Young
This is, bar none, of the best story collections I've read in the past 5 years. Atmosphere, compassion, extreme lyrical beauty along the lines of Barry Hannah and Dennis Johnson, and ample restraint where restraint need be shown. And not only do the stories lodge in your mind individually, but also as a kind of cumulus cloud cover that sheds, along its margins, just the faintest glow of ambient light. Patrick Michael Finn is the real thing, y'all. Misfortune belongs to anyone, anywhere, who hasn...more
Good story collection, but it is pretty brutal stuff. I don't think the city of Joliet is going to adopt this book for any kind of "community reads" program anytime soon. That said, Finn is a writer to watch for me. I recommend it, but my guess would be this collection isn't going to be for everybody.
'What do the simple folk do?' Patrick Michael Finn Tells Us

Now and then along comes a writer of short stories or novels that reacquaint us with the interstices of the middle of this country, pulling our attention away from the Coasts where the media force feed us the tales of rehab, violence, misbehavior and degrading lives of movie stars and performers and the absurd antics of the buffoons on the Hill and on Wall Street until breathing in is sour tainted. Patrick Michael Finn instead focuses on...more
This is a brutally honest (emphasis on brutal) collection of short stories about working class characters living on the margins of society in 1980s Joilet, Ill. The author portrays a world that most people ignore because it is too painful to think about, but it is the kind of nightmare life faced by many who are crushed by overwhelming challenges and human cruelty and is worthy of attention. For better or worse, some of these stories will be in my head for a long time.
Fred Pelzer
This is the first book in a while that I didn't finish. The unrelenting destruction of these characters' lives was too oppressive for me. I loved Knockemstiff, another short story collection set in the midwest where there's always another shoe waiting to drop. But after reading "Shitty Sheila," a few dozen pages of a woman self-destructing where I wasn't affected, wasn't moved, just was waiting for the suffering to be over - this felt like misery=artfulness, like the idea that literary fiction r...more
A collection of eight gritty, often depressing stories set in Joliet, Illinois. Five of the stories have a child or adolescent narrator, which is not my favorite vantage point in fiction. But the stories are very well written, and I would definitely read more by Finn. He captures the essence of life grinding working class people down.
Not for the faint of heart. Not for the easily offended nor even the sometimes-offended. This is rough stuff. But it is excellent writing. Great storytelling. These stories will stay in my memory for a very long time.
Solid collection of Joliet stories about teenagers, and adults who never quite grew up. Repeatedly hits you in the gut, and often the heart.
I found this to be very underwhelming. Everything here I feel I've read many times before, only better.
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