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The Arson People
“The Arson People burns bright and hot through the geography of a young mind—all of the cruelty and disaffection of small town youth is set aflame, and like a fire, has no center. Address to address, we map the progression forward and the story backward, but fire to fire, we trace, along with the arsonist, the problem back to her. This is the devastation of The Arson Peopl ...more
Published May 1st 2015 by Civil Coping Mechanisms
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The prose in this one simply burns. The buried anger searing it's way out, the apparent dead end of a life sparking from one ignition and leaping to other places, the plot flashing seemingly out of control. It's hot to stand next to, but there's certainly some amazing light to see by. Impressive stuff. ...more
The Arson People is a gripping book: the prose rips forward like the gasoline-fed fires the protagonist produces. The mean, fucked-up, disaffected world that Shinkle has created here, and the narrator's violent resistance to it, made me think of Lynda Barry’s Cruddy. I love too, how deeply the narrator cares about this place and these people, despite her best efforts to burn the shit out of everything. ...more
I read this book?/short story?/prose poem? to check off a category in the Read Harder 2017 challenge (read a book published by a micropress.) My first reaction was that it needed a better editor. There were so many errors of spelling and words missing and then I got to a point where it talked about a married Catholic priest with three kids and I realized that apparently no one who is Catholic read a rough draft of this book before it was published and caught that egregious continuity error.
This REALLY needed a strong editor. One chapter was in first-person when the rest of the book is in third-person for no apparent formal reason. Two stars for interesting premise and structure, but ultimately felt like an early draft to me - disjointed and not fully-developed/planned. -3 stars for unrealized potential.
Hadn't read a book like this before. I liked the twists and turns and the name of the main character ... Elsie Davis. I wondered why the book just stops as if it isn't supposed to stop ... but figured that must be the point. It is a short, fun read that offers up little trinkets and surprises for the reader. ...more