Sunday, March 3, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Amalgamation Polka" by Stephen Wright (2006)

"The Amalgamation Polka"...Stephen Wright (2006)
323 pages

Liberty Fish is the son of Abolitionist parents from New York.  He is also the grandson of slave-owning grandparents from South Carolina.  It was the days of slavery.  It was the time of the Civil War.  But the story is less about battles in uniform and more about conflicts in everyday clothes.

Every location is richly described and without slowing the reader down.  Nicely done.  The dialogue and parlay between characters ring true and breathe an authentic air to every scene.  But the story sometimes dances into the land of grotesque and strange.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Many novels that linger around the Civil War era can become quickly repetitive.  But in this novel, however, Stephen Wright throws a bit of a bouncing horseshoe.  What does this all mean?  It means his writing might be better than the actual story if that makes any sense.  But I quib.  I followed this one all the way home and it haunted me long after.

"All Mixed Up" - Red House Painters / "Songs for a Blue Guitar" (1996)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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