cover image Mostly Redneck: Stories

Mostly Redneck: Stories

Rusty Barnes. Sunnyoutside, $18 trade paper (156p) ISBN 9781934513323

Barnes' collection of stories about his native Appalachia is a case study in economy—each word has been honed and sharpened to a point, enabling him to efficiently create a sense of place. It's a fitting match for this assortment of murderers, musicians in small-town cover bands, and ex-cons who fell short of the brass ring that make up this collection. Whether he's writing about a character forced to put down his ailing dog or Saddam Hussein peddling hot nuts outside Boston's Faneuil Hall, Barnes treats his characters with reverence, giving them a depth and history that complicates stereotypes. Barnes' study of the everyday grind that never goes away is an impressive, powerful piece of work. (Aug.)