Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mr. Tall by Tony Earley




I know I've mentioned here how much I like Tony Earley's short stories. Somehow this most recent collection escaped my notice till a few days ago. 

It didn't escape the Washington Post's notice -- they named it one of the top 50 fiction books for 2014. The NYT gave it a big writeup in the Sunday Book Review. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review --- how did I miss this when it came out last year? I must have been under a rock at the time.

The minute, I mean the very minute, I read about this book,  I ordered a hard cover copy AT ONCE from Amazon. Then I decided to read the preview pages on line and started in on the opening story, "Haunted Castles of the Barrier Islands."

I was hooked. Tony E.'s voice is so perfect -- the characters are so real -- I couldn't leave them after the little taste the preview had given me.  It would be days -- two or three at least -- before the book got here. So I did what any reasonable person would do -- sought instant gratification and ordered the e-book for my Kindle.  And finished the book that night. The hardcover copy can stay nice and clean till some future date when I can get it autographed.

There are seven lovely stories in the collection -- several of which were first published in The New Yorker. One -- the enticingly quirky "Jack and the Mad Dog" -- I talked about in my post on METAFICTION. (I adore this extended tour de force of English major humor.)

Actually, I  loved them all -- and loved the fact that places and characters tend to migrate from one story to another. And what characters they are -- a lonely young bride spies on her strange neighbor, a widow is visited by what may have been the Southern version of Bigfoot, the ghost of Jesse James is hiding in an old woman's basement in Nashville. . . 

The writing is so, so perfect -- funny, sad, and beautiful -- that it kinda makes me want to cry. And start over and read right through again. Which I'm doing -- taking it slower, savoring every morsel... 

Need I say, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED?






5 comments:

Barbara R. said...

Nothing like a writer enjoying good writing!

Frances said...

Vicki, I am thinking that I must have read some of Mr. Earley's stories in The New Yorker, but now will have to check out this collection. Thank you for the recommendation. xo

NCmountainwoman said...

It's on my ever-growing list of to be read. I'll have to live to be a hundred to get through everything I want to read. Either that, or become a couch potato and do nothing else.

Brian Miller said...

on the amazon list....
thanks for the recommendation...
i really love some short stories...

Suz said...

Thank you