Bull Head

John Vigna, Author
John Vigna. Arsenal Pulp (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (206p) ISBN 978-1-55152-490-0
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-55152-491-7
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Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumnus Vigna’s muscular debut transplants Southern gothic to the Pacific Northwest in eight dark tales of men and women haunted by lost partners and strained relations. Brothers berate each other, friends trash talk, and neighbors spar over beetle-infested trees. Hard, violent lives are the common denominator, and clouded resolve speaks volumes. And while there is bravado on display, Vigna also prods the underbelly of these emotions, revealing the insecurities of man. In “Short Haul,” a lonesome truck driver takes to personal ads and fantasy while living with an abusive wife; “Gas Bar” finds a widower befriending a prostitute so he’ll have company on Thanksgiving. Vigna effectively employs clever methods to reveal personality, from the “story within a story” of “Two-Step” to characters frequently humming, singing, and hearing honky-tonk and rock ’n’ roll numbers. And while these people never cross narrative bounds, linkage comes through the town of Bull Head, the Northerner bar, an eatery named Old Elevator, and a looming mountain, a godlike figure that keeps watch over all it surveys. Agent: Anne McDermid, Anne McDermid & Associates (Canada). (May)
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