March 14th, 2010 / 11:42 am
Author Spotlight & Random & Reviews

Two Parts Rancor, One Part Joy

Guess which parts are which. But seriously--isn't this photo fucking gorgeous? Forget who it's a picture of for a second, and the fact that I found it on Gawker. Just look. Imagine it on a gallery wall. It's beautiful.

Tony O’Neill offers a pre-emptive FUCK YOU to Dr. Drew Pinsky for presumably planning to exploit the death of Corey Haim, and for being an asshole in general.

A controversial method of proselytizing to Muslims by starting with Jesus’s minor but significant role in the Koran, has generated–wait for it–controversy, drawing fire from Muslims and also some Christian groups. The procedure, naturally, is known as “The Camel Method.”

Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, loves the blazing hell out of Scott McClanahan’s Stories II.

There is a simplicity to the writing that feels very much like traditional storytelling, like a conversation, the easy way the character allows you to come into his life for a little while to hear what he wants you to hear. Despite the humor, which sneaks up on you and floors you, the stories are bleak; almost all of them are set in West Virginia and the propects for most of the characters in the stories are not good. There is sadness everywhere in these stories. And what I’m going to say next is why I think I love these stories so much. Amidst the sadness, the ways in which everyone fails each other, there is such an amazing tenderness that lifts these stories up. I felt very tightly connected to these characters and was grateful for having been around their stories…

Funny, because I was just saying something similar to fellow-Giant Amy McDaniel over gchat yesterday morning (she’s a fan too). I said that McClanahan’s book reminded me of the subtly acerbic, realist-ish Richard Brautigan not of the novels but of the short stories, like say “1/3, 1/3, 1/3,” crossbred with the big-hearted schlubbery of the Larry Brown of “Big Bad Love.” McClanahan seems like the kind of guy who probably read Breece D’J Pancake and came away thinking, “yeah, okay, true, but dude–take a load off.” No kidding. That said, it must be admitted that McClanahan’s lightness can occasionally, like Brautigan again, bleed into slightness, but if the worst thing you can say about a writer is that his not-bogging-you-down occasionally manifests as it-floats-off-on-the-breeze, he and his book are still in pretty fine shape. Anyway, the upshot is that we are all very much charmed/impressed/pleased by Scott McClanahan, and you should see if maybe you are too.

It’s worth noting, by the by, that this is not Giant’s first time delighting in Scott McClanahan. Back in January, Sam Pink reviewed Stories II. That post also conatins a story from the book, “The Couple,” which I think is exemplary and swell. And back last June, pr enthused about the original, Stories. And Scott’s own site is here.

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