God Bless America: Stories by Steve Almond

I first read Candyfreak several years back, and liked Steve Almond’s funny and twisted writing approach.  So when God Bless America came out recently, I tore through it in less than a week, and experienced lots of laughing (I need to quit reading in public places – people look at you funny) and some tears.

Almond’s characters are not pretty people.  There’s several here that aren’t even likeable, but yet, Almond manages to recreate their convoluted lives into something often humorous, or at least worthy of pondering.  And ponder you will.  Most of these stories do not finish with tidy endings – they often leave off with an unsettled feel.  Read on though, and enjoy.

Meet a would-be actor with higher aspirations than his tourist guide job who floats off into wilder waters with an unexpected cargo, a jaded and faded ticket checker at Logan airport that becomes the reluctant caretaker of a bratty kid, and a busboy pressed into service as a waiter for a lonely drunk woman.  The other stories get stranger, and sometimes sadder, but Almond has such an engaging style that you’ll probably keep the pages turning, particularly if bawdiness is not an issue.  Frankly, I find David Sedaris bawdy at times, but hilarious; if you like him, you’ll possibly like Steve Almond.

A couple of the stories take place in North Carolina locales (“Hope Wood” in Winston-Salem and “What The Bird Says” in Asheville) which was pleasantly surprising; it turns out that Almond was at UNCG in the mid 1990s getting his MFA in creative writing.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: