And Every Day Was Overcast

Paul Kwiatkowski. Black Balloon (Consortium, dist.), $29.95 trade paper (274p) ISBN 978-1-936787-07-4
The form of Kwiatkowski’s terrific coming-of-age novel, set in the 1990s, is offbeat and provocative. Short chapters, long on imagery and adolescent attitude, nestle between pages of color photographs. What’s exciting is how well these components complement one another. The pictures don’t literally illustrate the story, but only suggest connections. The little blond boy jumping into a swimming pool and sitting complacently behind an uncut birthday cake might or might not be the unnamed narrator. Instead, the photographs form a kind of tapestry of the swampy South Florida world he inhabits. There’s a young man in a camouflage T-shirt looking somberly down at a deer carcass in the back of a pickup; studies of bathrooms and trucks and abandoned houses; and all manner of bleary-eyed young people, cigarettes dangling from their lips, staring fixedly into the camera. As a child, the narrator gorges on television and compares his dysfunctional clan to idealized sitcom families. As a teenager, he witnesses bullying at school (befriending the chief victim, a hapless boy nicknamed “Cobain”), weathers raging hormones, and experiments with drugs. Kwiatkowski writes in vignettes and verbal tableaux, supplementing the narrative with the photos, and vice versa. Vibrant and original. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-936787-08-1
Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-936787-09-8
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