Winged Shoes and a Shield: Collected Stories

Don Bajema, Author
Don Bajema. City Lights, $16.95 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-0-87286-588-4
Ebook - 297 pages - 978-0-87286-594-5
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Canadian actor and novelist Bajema’s astute and unconventional collection of interconnected stories follows Eddie Burnett, a “goony” 13-year-old boy eager for a girl’s attention; driving the narrative, his coming-of-age trials take place amid the parched canyons of Southern California. Told in vignettes (published in the books Reach and Boy in the Air in 1996 by Henry Rollins’s imprint, 2.13.61), these lyrical stories treat a range of topics, from schoolboy football stardom and infatuation with a local beauty to Eddie’s encounters with his emotionally battered father, described as a “dog of war” with a “soul in pieces.” Decades flow by, as the author reveals Barnett’s life as a trailer-park boy during the ’60s and ’70s and later as an unhappily married man. Memorable boyhood shenanigans (some with tragic endings) precede accounts of other characters consumed by their own predicaments. Bajema’s prose combines the precision of pop-song lyrics with the surreal haziness of a fever-dream. A raw and direct pathway into the mind of an independent youth “trapped in the culture of Southern California.” (Oct. 15)
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