This generosity is reflected even in the language he uses to shape his characters--all of it precise but often very different. Here's a young woman working in a bar in northern Michigan, describing her life with her former husband: "It's sad but true that I've viewed more of this wide world than I'd like to admit from the tin-hootch roof of a house trailer with cheap venetian blinds and russet-colored dollar-a-yard carpeting. There, in the summer months, Paulie stashes a grill and a Styrofoam cooler of Hamm's on ice. And he refers to the two wooden pallets and makeshift planking that he hauled up there as our--ready for this?--portico." And contrast that with this, in the voice of the aging photographer in the collection's title story, as he tries to describe and even defend his own tentative optimism: "Consider this: stars exist that our night has never seen, but here it is again, a Friday night, and there is a breeze, and that scratchy music of crickets, like everything that rises and sets, has already begun to quiet." Each of these stories has more than one such moment, of pathos or vividness, that might bring a susceptible reader to the edge of tears.
Jack Driscoll reads from his new collection at Nicola's on Wednesday, April 18.
[Originally published in April, 2012.]