Slumber reads like a contemporary extraction of the author’s current mental state—of all Pablo’s work, this one seems the most autobiographical. From...moreSlumber reads like a contemporary extraction of the author’s current mental state—of all Pablo’s work, this one seems the most autobiographical. From the talk of forcing bourbon shots on bar-mates to writing as a subconscious evocation, Slumber is, for those not lucky enough to have shared bar-space with Mr. D’Stair, a window into the man unlike any of his other writings. He’d force you to swim in bourbon if given the chance.
Jose Saramago’s influence on D’Stair’s work is apparent with everything he writes, but Slumber reflects perhaps the most direct type of influence: concept extracted beyond the implied limitations of the form. With The Double (which seems to have inspired Slumber more directly than other Saramago work) the idea of a man seeing a duplicate version of himself on TV, is explored well beyond the handful of pages that such a simple concept would imply. In the hands of lesser writers, duplicity—especially when set amid a relatively unchanging context (compared to much commercial writing) is a clever conceit at worst and an average Michael Keaton comedy at best. But for The Double’s 336 pages, the idea remains incredibly engaging. I credit Saramago’s linguistic skill and his unmatched ability to extrapolate questions that never before seemed worth asking. That’s the germ with a Saramago novel: one idea seeds hundreds more.
Similar with D’Stair, Slumber takes a simple concept—a man discovers that another man has been breaking into his home to use his typewriter—and nurtures it into seemingly endless dimensions, never straying too far from the core concept, but never saturating the page with monotony and unnecessary girth. Slumber follows the protagonist as he discovers the mysterious apartment-dwelling writing, as he meets a convenience store employee/ fan of his own writing, as the should-he-or-shouldn’t-he materializes during subsequent meetings with the fan , as the narrator follows the mysterious writer to his own apartment, each node laying new paths to follow, new questions never thought to be asked. D’Stair always delivers. Slumber may be the best introduction to his work (or Man Standing Behind).(less)
I've always had a nostalgic association with gas stations, so reading this book, taking in it's non-stop sex capades, hit me strangely. But associatio...moreI've always had a nostalgic association with gas stations, so reading this book, taking in it's non-stop sex capades, hit me strangely. But associations aside, this book is quick, super fun, and quite intelligent. A great intro to Bradley's work.(less)
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is a near-future, dystopian, homage to 1940s(ish) film noir, and reads with the smooth confidence of those very detectiv...moreTobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is a near-future, dystopian, homage to 1940s(ish) film noir, and reads with the smooth confidence of those very detectives. And, I've got One Hundred Years of Vicissitude queued up to read soon.(less)
Click the image below to watch the video review (links to YouTube).
For some reason I tend to shy away from the BIG books, those being the books that...moreClick the image below to watch the video review (links to YouTube).
For some reason I tend to shy away from the BIG books, those being the books that rountinely make best of lists, fill the limited space in book review columns, and can generally be purchased at Wal-Mart (not that I have something against shopping at Wal-Mart...I went there just today, as a matter of fact...though, I only do so when hurting for money; see, I can't agree with the business ethics of the company, and oh crap, I'm rambling). I don't know if my aversion to widely-praised books can be simply diagnosed as hipsterism, or if there's something more sinister at play. But none of that matters, as I recently read one such department store paperback, Room by Emma Donoghue, and I really, really liked it.(less)
Tanzer has a way of describing innocent sexual tension like nobody I've ever read. If this were an autobiography, I would think of Tanzer as a guy who...moreTanzer has a way of describing innocent sexual tension like nobody I've ever read. If this were an autobiography, I would think of Tanzer as a guy who has a lot of female friends, is physically attracted to them, but must maintain that he is not in order to keep his marriage together.
For the record, as far as I know, this is not an autobiographical collection.(less)
Those who know Nik Korpon’s work, know that he has a smoothness of language and polished confidence with his writing that even many veterans haven’t a...moreThose who know Nik Korpon’s work, know that he has a smoothness of language and polished confidence with his writing that even many veterans haven’t achieved. He’s something special. When you read something from Nik Korpon you’re reading for mind and soul in the truest sense of the words.
With By the Nails of the Warpriest, Nik takes a bit a detour from his Baltimore noir roots and delivers something a bit darker, a bit more sci-fi, perhaps something Cormac McCarthy would write if he were subjected to a cycle of 12 Monkeys viewings projected on the wall of a condemned Baltimore row house with a group of vagabond squatters.(less)
Kristin Fouquet writes with a sense of poignancy, a defiance of the trite and the clever, a mode that practically forced me to fall in love with her writing back in the Twenty Stories days. With her second book, Rampart & Toulouse: a Novella and Other Stories, I am quite happy to say that Fouquet has compromised nothing. She can still tell a beautiful story, one subtly complex, but altogether “normal,” while delivering a final line or image, strong enough to anchor the story in your brain. You’ll wake up after a long night reading with a headache. A beautiful, relentless headache.
Rampart & Toulouse is comprised of three short stories and one novella. The novella, it being an unfamiliar form to Fouquet, I approached with the most skepticism. Could Fouquet bring poignancy to an 85 page story? What about her characters, the New Orleans locals with a thirst for wine and a need for story; would they survive the longer format? Simply stated: yes.
I hesitate to quote too much form this collection, as any single line would fail without the story’s context. And even if I could properly abbreviate the story, and deliver the line’s impact, each story so beautifully focuses its power into a few lines that to rob the reader of one line is to rob the reader of an entire story. So, let the exhaustion and breathlessness of Vivienne, the protagonist of the novella, “Rampart and Toulouse,” mirror my own gradual change, from full of energy to depleted of all but the most necessary breathes. Here, Vivienne has rescued a bullet wounded dog from the street:
“She assured the animal in her arms, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ Dodging sauntering tourists, her message weakened to just ‘Okay.’ The encouragement seemed more for her now than the victim. Seeing the vet’s office, Vivienne nearly collapsed” (pg 67)