Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rust And Bone

I just recently finished reading Craig Davidson's collection of stories entitled Rust And Bone. I bought the book on the strength of a positive review written in one of the many magazines I buy on a regular basis (note to self: you read too many magazines).

After reading the book I have to say that I was quite impressed with what I saw in Davidson's writing. There were numerous instances in which I saw shades of Palahniuk. Stories like "A Mean Utility", "Friction" , and "Rust And Bone" show a Chuck P. kind of grit that I love to see in literature. Then stories like "Rocket Ride", and "On Sleepless Roads" show Davidson's ability to come up with an interesting premise. All in all, this a good flexing of some serious literary muscle.

If I did have any qualms with this book it was with the last story in the bunch. It seems to me that what Davidson was trying to do with the book was to show his range and writing ability. Mission accomplished very well, but one of the stories seemed out of place. The last story in the collection, "The Apprentice's Guide To Modern Magic" really seemed more like a story that could have been a novella as opposed to say a single-sitting short story, and its subject matter, a brother and sister who go on a quest to confront the father who abandoned them years and years ago, really did not seem to belong among a collection of stories about grizzled boxers, dog breeders, sex addicts, and drunks. Maybe that's just me. That's not to suggest that "The Apprentice's Guide To Modern Magic" was poorly written or not worth reading. It was actually a great story and I loved reading it; it just didn't seem to fit in with the other stories in the collection is all.

Rust And Bone is a great book, though, and definitely worth checking out. The jacket mentions that Craig Davidson is currently working on a novel about boxing and if his novel-writing ability is on par with his short-story-chops, readers will be in for quite a treat. Do check it out.

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