Jane's Reviews > Childhood and Other Neighborhoods: Stories

Childhood and Other Neighborhoods by Stuart Dybek
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Apr 16, 09

bookshelves: chicago
Read in April, 2009

Dybek draws you in with stunningly evocative tales of slavic Chicago in the '50s and '60s. The blue collar ethnic, Catholic culture he draws from was just a few miles west of my Southside childhood but might as well have been on the other side of the world. The writing is as rich and raw as the duck's blood one of stories' many unfortuate children must procure for his ailing grandmother. (And mention of poultry reminds me to tell you pigeon fans that there are plenty of those.) The landscape is profoundly urban, with nary a Yuppie in sight: crumbling, rusty, industrial. I'm particularly fond of Dybek's palette of artificial lighting colors - the "mint blue" of a bowling alley for example. And his characters are as memorable as the scenes he places them in. The Palatski Man: "He reappeared in spring, some Sunday morning, perhaps Easter, when the twigs of the catalpa trees budded and lawns smelled of mud..." (palatski is some kind of eastern European sweet, but I've Googled in vain to determine if it really existed.)
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message 1: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire yeah, pigeons!


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