Issue number 13 of The Collagist is up. As Matt Bell notes in his Letter From the Editor, it's the one-year anniversary issue. Which makes it all the more exciting to be a part of it; in this issue, you'll find my review of Drowning Tucson by Aaron Michael Morales. Here's how it begins:
Fill your book with blatant, modern-day classic, critical thematic concerns and a reviewer ought to have no problem calling them out in an easily digested bullet-point format. So we have Drowning Tucson by Aaron Michael Morales, in which, yes, race, sex, class. Gotcha revenge and mercy. Hello violence and suffering. Welcome to the party pedophilia, prostitution, human worth and dignity. All the above are on display here, ready to be picked apart and analyzed in essays and articles about narrative success and structures and interests. I ought to be able to phone this review in while mowing the lawn next to the airport.
Except, this book hurt. And trying to find a way to talk about that without merely repeating over and over again that this book hurt presents a far greater challenge.
This was a tough book to write about, because my reaction was so strong. Hopefully that all comes through in a more clear way in the review itself. Many thanks to Matt Bell for helping push this one in the right direction in some key spots. I'm curious to see how others react to this book.
Also in this issue of The Collagist, you'll find a review by Gabriel Blackwell of Termite Parade by Joshua Mohr. I wrote about Termite Parade on this blog, and previously reviewed Some Things That Meant the World to Me for The Collagist, and I'm excited to see Mohr continues to get good coverage (which I've been seeing a lot of lately for Termite Parade).