Most humbling. And greatly appreciated. Excerpt? Word.
"Ben Tanzer’s strength lies in his recurring characters. It’s a small
enough town, right? So some characters are going to come back, you
figure. And they do across the span of several years—some stories of
children later unfold when we see those little boys and girls turn into
confused, fucked up adults. When one marriage ends, another begins and
we find that protagonist’s ex-wife as a different protagonist’s wife.
Though, not all the stories are told from the point-of-view of men
either. Sometimes, we see women discover their independence again, or
embrace it in the wake of the oncoming storm. Many of the protagonists
are children, and sometimes, the point-of-view is from a collective
community. Either way, these characters often return, and sometimes,
they’ve learned something from the things they lost. At other times,
they come back as fresh as we left them, as befuddled and lost as they
once were when they first set out into the world, setting out yet again
into the storm. It’s because of this, it’s easy to develop a
relationship with these characters as they struggle through the strife
of that begets Two Rivers, in spite of the narrative distance built by a
lack of description. We knew that this character when he was just a
kid, after all, so it’s really easy to maintain your relationship with
him, even if you kind of hated Stevey or Frank or any of those assholes
when they were just in high school. And seeing them as children before
watching them succumb to their fate is what makes this book brilliant.
It’s not quite the same way that Salinger or Ellis bring characters back
around again, almost as a masturbatory reference to their other works,
because it’s just as important to the later stories that you saw the
past stories in order to understand the full circle that some of these
characters take, even if those past stories aren’t directly referenced.
Like a chain, they link together, but each link alone still makes a full