Dirtyville Rhapsodies

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dirtyville Rhapsodies
by Josh Green

This solid short story collection is packed with grim pictures of “normal” life. Each of the 18 stories clocks in between 10 and 15 pages, just long enough to give the reader a glimpse into the sordid lives of its characters. A cop on the brink of self-destruction, a desperate journalist, a junkie, a soldier, a honeymooning couple, Green catches each of them at their worst moment and then chronicles it for our amusement. The result is a powerful portrait of broken souls.

In “Missing Athena” we meet a grieving husband, trying to care for his son while longing for his wife. “Axis of Symmetry” paints a vicious picture of a jealous ex-husband. “The Abduction” breaks your heart. It’s hard to say exactly where this book hooks you, but it’s hard to put it down.

Each of the stories stands alone, but their subjects tend to have one common thread: unhappiness. Whether it’s a crumbling marriage or drug addiction, they’re all struggling with something. In Atlanta, the capital of the "Dirty South" people are just trying to make it through the day.

BOTTOM LINE: The beautiful writing and palpable descriptions make this a quick read and great collection.

“No one pays attention to calendars but there’s something in the Friday air you can taste, the sweet sugar of workaday liberation.”

Side Note: Men’s Health just listed the book as one of the top 11 best reads for the summer, alongside Stephen King and Dan Brown’s new novels.

Photo of Atlanta from here


Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm not sure I'm going to give much credence to Men's Health if they recommended the Dan Brown, but I love that short stories are getting some love. The true testament to a good short story is if it leaves an impression, and makes you want more.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - Ha, that's true. I just love that they had such a variety of authors on there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,
Last week I went to bookmama's bookstore in Irvington where author Robert Rebein was discussing his book, Dragging Wyatt Earp. Rebein is a professor of creative writing at IUPUI and I asked him if he had had any students that were "making a name for themselves" in the literary world. He mentioned this book and author specifically. Glad to learn that it has your endorsement as well.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

bibliophilica - That's wonderful! The author lives in Atlanta now, but he's a Hoosier. I'm all about supporting authors from Indiana!