“More Like Not Running Away”

More Like Not Running Away: A Novel (Mary Mccarthy Prize in Short Fiction) More Like Not Running Away: A Novel by Paul Shepherd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The initial impression was that this would be a long version of Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”, but after the first 30 pages, Shepherd seemed to find his own stride and the narrator Levi begins to develop into a real character. Mr. Shepherd’s phrasing is taught and somewhat stylized without ever feeling hurried or put-on, leaving a quasi-biblical aftertaste, like a McCarthy-infused aperitif.
Despite a few incongruities of characterization here and there, my only real complaint with this otherwise excellent story is the ending: I suppose it could be defended as realistic, but having successfully made me care about the narrator’s father Everest, the complete lack of redemption (and the seeming implication that this isn’t that big a deal) was frustrating to me: I felt a little put on. I thought I had a heavy-weight novel on my hands, only to have the last few punches thrown by a bantam-weight from Connecticut. Nevertheless, an enjoyable and beautifully written debut novel, and a few afternoons well-spent.

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‘Imaginitive’, Aye

Not much to be said that hasn’t been already on President Obama’s Nobel award, but in case you missed it, I thought I would share Desmond Tutu’s official response, a brilliantly diplomatic version of the “Huh?” reaction of so many of us (one can only hope that the irony was intentional):

[A] surprising but imaginative choice.

Hat Tip: Times UK