Friday, July 5, 2013
This Book Will Change Your Life - Last Call in the City of Bridges by the Salvatore Pane.
In our heart of hearts we would have some cogent, yet, pithy, 140 character commentary on Last Call in the City of Bridges by the Sal Pane, that would somehow channel Patrick Ewing's stoic awesomeness, John Starks dogged, one-balled fearlessness, or possibly Kanye West's massive sense of self and all things Kanye. But maybe that wouldn't do the Sal Pane justice? We could also reflect on other recent coming of age debut novels by young male writers that struck us as saying something meaningful in a space filled with so much clutter that actually doing so makes the work meaningful in and of itself. And here, The Slide by Kyle Beachy or Sophomoric Philosophy by Victor David Giron come to mind. We could reference these things. Seeking to infuse this riff with some kind of pop culture shorthand, and we probably already have based on the mere fact that we have mentioned them at all. So we could do all that, and yes, have done so, but let's not totally do so. Instead let's focus on something else. Or something's else. First, the writing itself, because in the Last Call, the writing is tight. Not tight like the shorts Larry Bird wore in his heyday. It's not about restriction, or the inability to breathe, because Last Call breaths. The wordplay and dialogue is alive and dynamic. It's that the craftmanship itself is tight. Sal Pane knows how to construct story, and we think the importance of this sometimes gets lost until you see it right in front of you, pulsating and beckoning. Second, the debut novel can be a trap, there will be sex, drinking, and search. There will also be tragedy, friends die, maybe siblings, or both, and then there are the work woes and relationships and how anyone anywhere can possibly communicate, much less connect with anyone anywhere. And so the question becomes, how does the author do this differently and new? It's about freshness, and new angles, and so it is with Last Call, which is about sex, drinking, death, and alienation as it has to be, but spun through a generation that has grown-up in the internet. Not as guests or travelers like those who came before them, but in it. Everything saturated with social media. Every conversation filtered through how it will ultimately translate to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. And everyone wondering whether they should be trying to escape something they are so totally immersed in when they don't quite know what alternatives exist because they've never truly been exposed to them. Sal Pane has brought us this generation laid bare, with tightness, humor, and pathos. Will it change your life? We think so. It probably already has.