In the midst of the Jeannette Walls marathon I managed to sneak in I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down, a collection of short stories by William Gay. I truly loved some of the stories in the book, but 2/3 of the way through the collection it became formulaic.
Troubled main character + twisted, ironic event (generally love gone wrong) = death or humbling awareness.
Don’t get me wrong, his writing is poetic, honest, and the embodiment of southern gothic. Here’s my highest compliment, for some reason I can forget a book as quickly as I’ve read it, but Gay’s stories are so memorable for the dark humor, oddities, unsympathetic observation of human character, etc., that it will be a long time before they fade from my memory. I simply wish I had read them piecemeal because there are several common elements that can be redundant in this collection. It’s a book best read over time rather than cramming it into your library deadline.
If Poe and Faulkner somehow spawned a child, then drowned it in the River Styx and crammed it in a freezer to hide the evidence, whatever thawed out 10 years later might smell something like Gay's pungently necrotic short fiction. . .But be warned: A little Gay goes a long way. His idea of comic irony is an old man who tries to frame a tenant for arson and fricassees himself instead. Like moonshine and hemlock, these heart stompers are best taken in shots, separated by plenty of recovery time.
- Scott Brown for Entertainment Weekly
I’ve recently been visiting A Desert Fete and enjoying the pictures very much. That is all. Go see for yourself!
Have a happy weekend!