Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"With moments that bring tears to the eyes and others that disgusted me beyond what I thought I was capable of, Tanzer also made me laugh, wonder, and feel excited to see Two Rivers again and again." The New York Stories. The Chicago Writer.

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 circle."

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