Close Is Fine

Eliot Treichel. Ooligan (IPS, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (148p) ISBN 978-1-932010-45-9
Pacific Northwest author Treichel debuts with a collection of short stories focused on the muted struggles of Midwestern blue collar characters to make sense of their messy, often reduced circumstances. The title story follows Tanner, a carpenter by trade, whose affair on the job with a younger woman has precipitated divorce from his wife Kirsten, a waitress. The downbeat Tanner seeks solace in erecting, with his pal Gerald, a replica howitzer. A more offbeat yarn like “Stargazer,” set in 1957, concerns Walters, a shiftless bar owner, who buys his long-suffering wife, Tooty, an Electrolux vacuum cleaner for her birthday “and she loved it.” Later, he trains an adopted black bear to wrestle with him in a professional stage act. Brian, a married elementary teacher in “On By,” is drawn to a dogsledder named Rita. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget this,” he says after riding on her sled, but before jumping into bed with her. The final story, “The Golden Torch,” is about a widowed father and his divorced son who practice their firefighting skills while coping with their feelings of loneliness. All of these stories, with unadorned prose and universally male themes and a creeping sense of violence just ahead, offer broad appeal. A clear-eyed and perceptive debut. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 168 pages - 978-1-932010-47-3
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