Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Book Will Change Your Life - Short Bus by Brian Allen Carr.

Such a nice surprise the Short Bus. We were familiar with the Carr as a champion of indie lit and writers, but not as familiar with his work. We might not have even read it, which is not stated in any pejorative sense, as much as a reflection of the masses of work out there we want to read, are asked to read and struggle to wade through. And nothing pejorative about that either. Too much too read will never be bad, and people actually wanting us to read things, just cool, dig it, appreciate it, and always wanted it. Which brings us back to the Short Bus all popping as it is with vivid imagery, damage and dislocation. We were thrilled, honored even, to be asked to review Short Bus for American Book Review. Which we did. Gladly. And with great enjoyment, if one can say they enjoy much of what happens in these stories. Whatever the accurate descriptor may be however, we hope you will check out the book and find a way to read the full review. We will also offer you some excerpt.

"Arguably, the stories in great collections hang together, they feel like there are of a piece, and one way they do this is by evoking a sense of time and place, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver for example, Drown by Junot Diaz or Big World by Mary Miller. We know these stories are from somewhere, and because of the writing, we accept that this somewhere is believable and makes sense, even if we don’t know the Bronx or the Pacific Northwest based on any kind of personal experience.

Carr accomplishes this certainly, capturing the flavor, smell and taste of the border areas between Texas and Mexico, a place few of us actually know, but think we understand via some weird kind of magic courtesy of watching CNN and Robert Rodriguez movies. The richness of the area, and Carr’s efforts to illuminate it is nicely exemplified in the following passage from the story Over the Border, “One thoroughfare with unpaved tributaries fanning toward barrios, dirtier and more dilapidated the further from Benito Juarez Avenue, the musical street, with buildings painted so bright, like Easter eggs in the sunshine… (Page 18)."    

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