Posts Tagged ‘Scott McClanahan’

STORIES II: A REVIEW, AN ESSAY BY THE AUTHOR AND A STORY FROM THE BOOK

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Scott McClanahan is from West Virginia, which, as he has to explain to another person in STORIES II, is not just a part of Virginia, but an entire state of its own.  

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STORIES by Scott McClanahan

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

mcclanahan_cover

Often, when realistic fiction interests me – and it very often does- it must do what all art can do, and to quote the painter Lisa Yuskavage ( an idol of mine), prove that there is “not an uninteresting person alive.” Scott McClanahan’s collection, simply entitled STORIES (click here to buy) illuminates that concept. I realize this is in exact opposition to Christopher Higg’s  comment in his review of the Jello Horse by Matthew Simmons, where he wrote, “…but then again, so few real people are remarkably interesting.”  Now, we could quibble about remarkable versus not, but I’ll reiterate: I find it remarkable that I am alive, period, and the minutia of anyone’s life thrills me. (This is not to say  I don’t like some books better than others, or some people better than others, nor that there isn’t tons of crappy stuff passing off as literature. I’m just explaining a general worldview I adhere to.) And so the way I walk around this world is different than others, I understand that, because I walk around shocked, amused, moved to pity and rage and mostly baffled, in the most wonderful of ways, at how strange we all are (click here to read a thread that exemplifies our weirdness in regard to food.)

McClanahan’s stories are primarily set in West Virginia and all told in the first person by the same narrator, a narrator who views the seemingly narrow lives of his community and family with reverence. These are not condescending stories. They can be funny, but never treat the eccentric, or impoverished characters as cartoonish or garish; indeed, they celebrate, with honor, the strangeness and beauty of them all.

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