The feller and I were on an anniversary road trip of the nerdiest variety, coming to hang around in the old stomping grounds of several literary giants, and to spend time and far too much money in one of the better bookstores I've ever entered. One thing we were going to do per his request was see the famous whiskey-bottled tomb of William Faulkner, and, at my request, the shamefully less-trafficked burial plot of Barry Hannah, who had died in that very town just five years prior after shoving the likes of Wells Tower and Donna Tartt out into the written world, along with a generous body of some of the most soulfully flamboyant and singular works of fiction composed in the English language over the last hundred years or more. But ohhh boy, howdy, that place is gorgeous with nature and culturally thriving and adorable and, as it turns out, the home of Barry Hannah's alma mater, he having graduated from the MFA program at University of Arkansas after being its very first graduate-level creative writing student. He was everywhere on that trip, on posters around Fayetteville for a band coming through town who go by the name "Water Liars" (a wonderful story in Airships), and even happenstancing the week or so before when the feller found this used for just a few bucks in an OKC book shop, calling us out with its pure generosity of spirit: So, this book. You'll maybe even be excited about all the Hannah reading to come for you, and go so far as to purchase nerdy little trinkets like this: I am rating this based on other Hannah books rather than all other books, which is not terribly fair to Barry, but is nothing but a favor to those other writers out there, trying and trying again to tap out something special.
I'm like one of those obsessive Jimmy Buffett or Grateful Dead or Star Trek or model train persons when it comes to Barry Hannah's work. Hannah has a sneaky and complex way of making you love his people despite and sometimes because of their negative traits, prejudices, and bad habits, but his characters' relentless misogyny in this collection of stories occasionally wore me down. Still, I have little use for political correctness, especially in fiction, so that star may come back when I revisit the book someday.
I think the language Hannah uses in the stories in this collection defies categorization. And as with virtually all of the stories in this collection, there is an incredible depth of characterization that is implied in the language.
***I suspect these stories reveal much about the artist/writers psyche, his withdrawal into alcoholism, his constant searching for his "next" woman or love interest, his vulnerability and insecurities when sharing his art with the masses.
Bandini," where the main trouble-maker is possibly a closeted homosexual and insists that "Everybody is just a collision." Hannah's style is as flashy as ever, if not less brutal as his past work.
Barry Hannah's stories careen across the page at breakneck speed.
I was not amused by the topics or heavily depraved sexual references (and I am no prude), the deep negativity toward women, and didn't find most of the stories remotely funny.
Barry Hannah was an American novelist and short story writer from Mississippi.