The Spot: Stories

David Means, Author . FSG/Faber and Faber $23 (164p) ISBN 978-0-86547-912-8

A natural storyteller, Means (The Secret Goldfish ) presents 13 nuanced tales of wanderlust and transgression. Hoboes around a campfire spin elaborate yarns in two of the richest stories, offering just enough confession to keep the others' interest: “The Blade” finds an improbable friendship between an old geezer and a young junkie, culminating in a requisite “blade-to-the-throat” story; while “The Junction” pursues a vagrant who begs food at a farmhouse that is strikingly similar to the home he grew up in. The American landscape is vividly sketched in these tales, traversed by the Bonnie-and-Clyde meets Charles Starkweather team of young bank robbers in “Nebraska,” and the manipulative con man of “Oklahoma.” Similarly, the title story details a jaunty pimp's shameless exploitation of a girl with a horrific past, culminating in a grim discovery at Niagara Falls. There's not an off note to be found in Means's prose, and he proves to be remarkably adept at locating the sublime in the unseemly. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-4299-3279-0
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-86547-851-0
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