Monday, April 18, 2011

This Book Will Change Your Life - Songs Of Vagabonds, Misfits, and Sinners by Ken Wohlrob.

Work. Travel. Read. Comp time. Read. Weekend. And Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits, and Sinners by TBWCYL, Inc. favorite Ken Wolhrob. It strikes us that when it comes to Ken's work we are supposed to have various associations, New York City, grittiness, diverse and colorful characters, an ear for the street, or neighborhoods certainly, their vernacular, rhythm and flow, and all this is true. It is also strikes us that with Songs Ken continues to pursue the short story that is not quite so short, stories with some heft, and room to breathe, and this excites us, it's not the norm, and not the norm is good, not the norm enriches the form, and this is something Ken reaches for with every new effort. And yet, as we say all this, we really want to say something else, something that lingers as we reflect on not just Songs, but Ken's previous collection The Love Book as well. Interwoven throughout all of these stories is the struggle to hold onto one's identity and who the characters, and readers, think we are in the face of change and loss and disappointment, whether that be neighborhoods or relationships, scams or art sales. Further there is an ongoing calculation in all of Ken's work which grows out of the idea that even as something is slipping away from them, us, or something is being destroyed, the characters, and again the readers, are always being forced to ask themselves, ourselves, is this, this thing that is happening, is it okay, can I live with it, and is this really who I am, or was, or will be? Its a fundamental question, and Ken knows this, as surely as he knows grit and neighborhood and all the things we now think of as Wohlrobian.

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