The Fry Pans Aren't Sufficing

Peyton Burgess. Lavender Ink, $16 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-944884-01-7
In his debut collection, Burgess explores both the tragic and mundane in the small moments of everyday life. In the titular story that begins the collection, readers are introduced to Gil, a Katrina evacuee staying at the Atlanta home of his girlfriend's parents. Bored and filling the hours with booze, Gil decides to attend a USPS mail recovery auction to keep himself occupied before returning to New Orleans. The next two stories follow Gil and his girlfriend through car troubles and pit stops on the way back to their gutted, militarized hometown. The struggle to maintain normalcy in the face of trauma is a recurring theme throughout the collection. In "Grancy and Bapoo Are Good Grandparents," teenager Vince and his siblings romp around their grandparents' house after their grandfather gets stuck in the home elevator, leading to a series of events that force Vince to confront jealousies and unrequited desires. In "Sunday Brunch with Daisy," the protagonist must help his neighbor put down an old bloodhound. In "She Has the Room Above Him and He Has the Room Next to Her," Kyle takes up with the beach bum sister of his deceased ex-girlfriend as he tries to get over the loss. Beyond the diverse cast of characters, New Orleans itself is a character, often both comforting and maddening for the male protagonists. Sometimes shocking and often strange, this is a fine debut from a striking new voice. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2016
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