Wednesday, October 30, 2013
This Book Will Change Your Life - Sightings by the B.J. Hollars.
Travel. Read. More read. On planes, trains, and automobiles we read. Many things. PowerPoint presentations, newspapers, magazine, galleys, and Sightings by the B.J. Hollars, a collection of absurdist, at times, speculative, stories which traffics in a loosely connected midwest vibe. In fact, it is the midwest connective tissue that would appear to be a marketing hook for the collection. But as we read about Hollars' basketball playing Sasquatches, pervy football coaches, time travelers, and Oregon trail re-enactors, not to mention the dead or missing siblings, daughters, and sons; absent parents, and the loss, or lack of friends; we couldn't help but think that the real connective tissue in these stories, is how Hollars' characters are all learning how to live as outsiders, also-rans, and lost souls. We also couldn't help but think, that when an author takes an absurdist bent, said author not only elevates the enjoyment factor of otherwise potentially bleak stories, but allows the pain, fear and isolation lurking in their stories to creep-up on the reader slowly, and more insidiously, than they otherwise might have. Which is certainly the case with Sightings, until the final story "Missing Mary" anyway, where all that is bleak and sad, is laid-out from the start, with nothing absurdist or speculative in sight, just the feeling that while Hollars' stories will certainly change your life, life itself is profoundly sad and populated by damaged people seeking any kind of connection they can find.