Monday, May 21, 2012

Finished: "Straight Razor Days" by Joel Hynes

FInished: Straight Razor Days by Joel Hynes, 2011, 9781897141427.

I read Hynes's Down to the Dirt a few years ago.  I was not hugely impressed at the time but I still recall several parts from the novel.  So, I decided to find more by the guy.  Nothing else is in the library system and this came from UW-Madison.

I got the book and - wouldn't you fucking know it - it's poetry.  I was going to bail on this right away but I figured if I ILL'd the damn thing I should give it a good effort.  Wouldn't you know, I started to like the pieces in here.

How many of these are autobiographical?  I presume that most are.  Pieces about alcohol abuse, fatherhood of a young boy but separated from the mom, writing failure.  I presume these poems are set in Newfoundland (except for a couple writing tour pieces).  They do match the rough and poor life portrayed in Down to the Dirt.  Here is a rundown:
1.  Drunks
2. Rotten tattoos.
3. Too poor for a reliable vehicle and often too drunk to drive anyway.
4. Boring AA meetings.
5. Love for a young son and wishing to do better while fearing failure and future estrangement.
6. Absentee father.
7. Struggling to write while sitting with a pot of tea and sharpened pencils.
8. Rundown rural homes.  Abandoned rural homes that draw bad memories and/or are albatrosses.
9.  Motorcycle love.
10.  Pontificating bar drunks.
11.  A hard case but beloved grandfather.

1.  Hynes does not look healthy in his author photo.
2.  Author bio lists a second novel but that may not have had a U.S. publisher.  I suppose I can re-check.

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