Garbage

Stephen Dixon, Author
Stephen Dixon, Author Cane Hill Press $8.95 (165p) ISBN 978-0-943433-00-4
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Blend together Raymond Chandler, Franz Kafka and James Joyce, and the result is Garbage, a novel eminently more appetizing than its name. Shaney Fleet is a third-generation bar owner whose refusal to deal with a criminal garbage-collection service brings him up against a malevolent world of gangsters, corrupt and petty public officials, and a circle of customers and acquaintances who do not share his straight-as-an-arrow sense of right and wrong. Fleet is a classic tough guy, but he proves vulnerable to the forces that, with a doomed inevitability, plot his ruin. The novel, written entirely in the first person with no chapters or other breaks in the narrative, is fast-paced and compelling, and Dixon (Fall & Rise, etc.) demonstrates a wonderful ear for dialogue. But there is more here than a good, hardboiled detective story. In Fleet, Dixon has created an Everymana simple, lonely hero, battling powers he knows to be overwhelming and asking only to be left alone. He risks his life to save the bar that is his birthright and to remain in the cityunnamedthat is the only home he has ever known. This work of serious fiction offers no pat resolutions, but ends on a hopeful note as Fleet, momentarily drawn out of his seclusion by a chance encounter with a sympathetic woman, decides to continue his struggle. Garbage marks an auspicious debut for Cane Hill. (June)
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