High Lonesome
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High Lonesome

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  262 ratings  ·  23 reviews
High Lonesome is a darkly comic, fiercely tragic, and strikingly original odyssey into American life. This collection by the author of Airships and Bats Out of Hell explores lost moments in time with intensity, emotion, and an eye to the past. In "Uncle High Lonesome," a young man recalls his Uncle Peter, whose even temper was marred only by his drinking binges, which woul...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 11th 1997 by Grove Press (first published 1996)
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I often call Barry Hannah the greatest living writer and I stand by that statement. I'll reluctantly grant there may be three or four valid arguments to the contrary, his death in March 2010 being the least of them. Shit, man, I can't review this guy's books. They're my road maps. I'm like one of those obsessive Jimmy Buffett or Grateful Dead or Star Trek or model train persons when it comes to Barry Hannah's work. But maybe not. I'm giving this one four stars instead of five, for now. Hannah ha...more
Not sure why I didn't have a rating for this one. But here's a snippet of an Amazon review I wrote for it a few years back:
Hannah's latest, High Lonesome, reasserts him as a master of the short story. The thirteen tragic and oddly funny tales range from "Get Some Young," in which an old shopkeeper and his wife become more than friends with an "almost too good-looking" boy, to "The Agony of T. Bandini," where the main trouble-maker is possibly a closeted homosexual and insists that "Everybody is...more
Robert Mcgehee
I'm not a book reviewer, can't speak to the technicalities of good writing, etc., but I know what like, and I like this man's work. The stories in this one are on the dark side, but humorous, the characters memorable, and there is a poinancy. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you will say to yourself that there are no people like these people. But there are; they live next door, down the block regardless of where you yourself live. The writing approaches poetry and when I'm reading it I can't think of a...more
I will never forget the character named Sunballs. Mostly for his name. This colllection is good, but Bats Out of Hell is stronger.
I pity the poor foreign fool tasked with trying to effectively translate this work; the unusual delivery and references will be difficult for a non-English speaker, let alone a non-Southerner. Although much admired and aplauded during his career, especially for his short stories, I can't say that I loved Hannah's selections that much. Some stories were ok, and he certainly opens vistas into the depravity of the region, but overall I wasn't that impressed. Luckily, I also started GERONIMO REX, wh...more
Absurd, sincere, heartbreaking, heartwarming, hilarious and explosive celebrations of life and the beautiful chaos that shapes it.

My favorites:
The Agony of T. Bandini
Drummer Down

"I write out of a greed for lives and language. A need to listen to the orchestra of living. It is often said that a writer is more alive than his peers. But I believe he might also be a sort of narcoleptic who requires constant waking up by his own imaginative work. He is closer to sleep and dream, and his memor...more
I think the key to making it through this collection of difficult stories, is reading it over a long period of time. Hannah's writing style is much like Pynchon's in that simply getting though a sentence or paragraph intelligibly can be a feat. Some stories have such a bizarre and wild delivery I needed to read them twice to simply understand the narrative (i.e. the almost Lynchean "Taste Like a Sword").

I normally hate this style of writing, but I think Barry Hannah's delivery, while difficult,...more
It's been hard to ignore all the reviews lately of Hannah's _Collected Fictions_, but I hate having to read all that much fiction at once. So instead, I got out one volume and read through it. As you can tell from my rating, I liked it a good deal.

Hannah's a bit weird, which is kind of an understatement, but also a bit weird for me to like. He's a Southern writer of the voicey kind, and seems by and large kind of invested in the hard drinking eccentric macho man thing, which isn't altogether in...more
I think the language Hannah uses in the stories in this collection defies categorization. It is certainly idiosyncratic way beyond anything else I’ve read this year. It demands to be taken on its own terms. Pops you out of the smooth flow that most prose strives for, but if you give in to it, it drags you deep, deep, and deeper. There is no attempt here to write the way “one is supposed to write,” although I won’t go as far as saying there is an attempt to do the opposite. The words simply coher...more
Another series of short stories. I feel like I would of enjoyed how complex, compelling and well-written these stories are if I had read them at a better time. As it stands, I read this when writing a series of essays and was instead frustrated by the stories as they demanded too much thought that I wasn't necessarily in a position to give. Maybe I'll return to Barry Hannah later, at a better thought out time.
We have dark humor, unhinged narrators, weird characters, pure and grotesque beauty in these stories of loneliness and desperation. Hannah's writing, as always, is searing and unrelenting. Enthralling, disturbing and creepily relatable.
I did not enjoy it until the last three short stories - one, because I could understand them, two, they were not full of vulgarity, three, they made sense. I will not read any of his other books or short story collections. Also, the author did not use many commas and fragmented sentences. I did only fine one typographical error, though.
Wild and weird and somehow in that wildness and weirdness, true. I feel like I should have been reading Barry Hannah long before now. I feel like I’ll be making up for that from now on.

This just kept building and two of the last three stories, “The Ice Storm” and “Uncle High Lonesome,” together with “Repulsed,” are my votes for the best.
first story has some beautiful language, high voltage content. i'd never heard of him but i'm finding everything i can of his
Gideon Mann
Hit and miss collection -- "Get some young" creepy and great. others not so much.
Ben Lee
This collection has "Snerd and Niggero," one of the best short stories ever.
Jun 19, 2008 Jimmy added it
Made me vomit in a good way. No one will ever write this well again.
Tyler Malone
Hannah was a master of the short story form.
Robert Smith
Discovered it in undergrad decades ago...
Cole Brumley
Great writing. Hate everybody in there.
Michael Seidel
Brutal brilliance.
i like the title.
Rick Smith
Rick Smith marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
Kathryn Walker
Kathryn Walker marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Paradisloffe marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Brightpath57 marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2014
Kevin Corr
Kevin Corr marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
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Barry Hannah was an American novelist and short story writer from Mississippi. He was the author of eight novels and five short story collections. He worked with notable American editors and publishers such as Gordon Lish, Seymour Lawrence, and Morgan Entrekin. His work was published in Esquire, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, and a host of American magazines and quarterl...more
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