Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, West With the Night? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers. The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people’s stories, are absolutely true…. I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book.
In his second collection of stories, as in his first, Carver’s characters are peripheral people—people without education, insight or prospects, people too unimaginative to even give up. Carver celebrates these men and women.
The title refers to the town’s disused chemical plant that lies rotting and leaking toxins on the shore, its fittings bearing the name of its engineer, George Lister; but it’s also an archaic word that means ‘to sparkle.’ Apt, in a thousand ways.
Artful and sophisticated…truly unusual. Imagine Lewis’s Babbitt thrown into the backseat of a car going cross-country, driven by R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar or Spike Jonze. That’d be a story Saunders could tell.
I had to tell someone (and it might as well be you since you’re the author) how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm).