JE: It’s no secret around here that I’ve long been a big fan of Stewart O’Nan. In his…
I’d come to Cal hoping to become the kind of poet and scholar who would look down on American movies with big strong heroes in them, but something else happened: I fell in love with directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks. I’d grown up in Orange County, and my father had a professional relationship with John Wayne, a great star for both filmmakers. I’d come to Cal thinking that this actor, particularly, represented all that I had hated about my life up to that point
I don’t believe animals can talk, and any writer who writes a story about one that does, is pulling my leg. I especially don’t like it when dogs talk in fiction. There is a reason they can’t talk. Because they are animals. There is also a reason why humans should be careful of all animals. Because they are animals.
The book itself reminds of an art school freshman’s journal that has been left behind absently in the lunchroom, a stranger picks it up only to discover it is almost too good to give back to this student. Each little page gives a different riddle, or joke, a conundrum wrapped in a riddle, or a funny little saying.
They have taken Alan to Stephanie’s place, as Tom describes how he got to this part of the world. We switch back and forth momentarily between what Tom understands and what he is a witness to. Alan is killing himself one bender at a time. But neither drugs or booze will do the job right.
She tells me that they are both stuck in this college town, teaching tidy little classes meant for people with no real goal above teaching. They want a divorce she tells me, and I wonder aloud, (weirdly I’m not out of breath), why? They’re cool with it she says, as we jog in place at a traffic light. It turns green, we take off again, and she keeps telling me more about Kathleen.