Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Dead Boys" by Richard Lange

I am catching up on my book reviews.

Dead Boys was recommended to me at Squaw Valley this year, as something I ought to look at in regards to the story I had workshopped. After the workshop mate mentioned the title, I thought "that sounds familiar." A couple minutes later, I realized I'd seen Lange on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books. He was really interesting, and I left the panel wanting to read this book of short stories. But of course it flew out my well-intentioned mind. I am so grateful to that workshop mate for mentioning it.

I moved through this book at the same time I read One Mississippi. I am usually a one-book-at-a-time gal, but Lange's short stories are so intense that I needed periodic breaks. Like after "Love Lifted Me," a story about a man who helps two teens get married, although he's skeptical of the boy. Late in the story, the girl stabs her would-be husband. This shift is so shocking, and arresting. After reading that, I flew through a couple hundred pages of One Mississippi before feeling that I could return to Lange's world.

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