Publisher’s Weekly

Publisher’s Weekly Review of The Man Back There

Friday 11 Dec 2009
The Man Back There and Other Stories David Crouse.
Sarabande (Perseus, dist.), $15.95 paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-932511-63-5

Crouse follows his Flannery O’Connor award-winning Copy Cats with this moody dirge of nine deeply felt stories, the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize. In “The Forgotten Kingdom,” Denny, a technical-support operator for a video-game company that’s “lingering on the edge of death,” is unsure why he keeps showing up uninvited at his former girlfriend’s house–maybe to hurt her or make her feel the emptiness that plagues his own life, or maybe, he considers, “he was just a bad person.” Another borderline stalker, a lonely, unambitious animal-control officer, reappears at his ex-wife’s house in “The Castle on the Hill,” where she is now remarried and having a party. The title story finds a couple, Sharon and Sweets, stumbling shakily out of a bar after Sweets gets in a fight with Sharon’s insolent ex; although Sharon imagines he is defending her honor, Sweets has his own motivation. Crouse digs into dark places, and while readers may cringe, the author’s humane handling of his troubled, psychically scarred characters renders their pain authentic and universal, even when their actions are questionable. (Aug.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s