Dubus speaks with that hard Boston lilt, that “whatchew gonna do bout it?!” vocal swagger popularized recently by The Fighter, and he really turns it on when he’s reading. His body, too, is animated by a fighter’s bravado. When he’s really hitting on a point, he affects a boxer’s physical nuances: a pulling back, a bracing, a short fast jab.
Manuel Munoz (What You See In The Dark), Adam Ross (Mr. Peanut) and Dan Chaon (Await Your Reply) each borrow liberally from Alfred Hitchcock in their recent novels. Name some more Hitchcockian novels in the comments for this post on the 3G1B Facebook Page and we’ll enter you in a drawing for one of five copies of Munoz’s What You See In the Dark.
Like Steinbeck (and Dickens and Twain), O’Nan writes about “the little people.” He’s a bard for the blue collar, reporting on the quiet and sometimes desperate lives of decent folks who may not be making headlines with their heroism, but in whom we recognize ourselves with a clarity that is all too rare in modern literature
What is going on with the second person narrative? Your undefined self acts as voyeur to the good people of Bakersfield – the most handsome man in town, the mother with that motel, the girl with him, your own boyfriend. There’s that “you” again. Now you’re at the drive-in with your “nice” boyfriend – the other couple in a truck nearby – the hoots and laughter as couples mate, you wanting more.
The Fangs are a special kind of subversive traveling performance art family, we see them at different stages of their lives, and sometimes I wondered where the next exciting moment would come. I was trying to guess what it would be, and was always wrong. Wilson impressed me the most with his ability to live up to my expectations. There are moments in this book where you will laugh out loud and wonder aloud how Wilson did it.
About this time last year DH sent me John Vorhaus’s first novel California Roll. It’s a funny, slickly plotted, camp-as-Christmas crime novel about con artists and their marks. He wrote a piece for the When We Fell In Love Series about Tom Robbins, which is fitting enough, since if you tied Tom Robbins to a wobbly chair under a bare lightbulb and told him to reproduce Richard Stark’s Parker series, you’d probably get something an awful lot like California Roll.