Saturday, September 12, 2009
Going Native by Stephen Wright
A man walks out of his life in the midst of a dinner party on the East Coast somewhere. He may steal a green Galaxie automobile. Nearby, some awful crackheads have sex, score, and argue. Someone steals their green Galaxie. A hitchhiker kills a truck driver on the Interstate, then later hitches a ride in a green Galaxie. A young woman runs away from her family with her boyfriend, later ditches the boyfriend for a man driving, yep, you guessed it. Some guy involved in porn goes to a party and his car is run into by our old friend the GG. And so on. These vignettes of wrecked and unpleasant modern lives have three things in common: sex, drugs, and the green Galaxie. It’s a collection of meaningless searches for meaning. The writing is occasionally clever, but usually feels like it’s trying way too hard. There is also a certain pre-911 self-absorption that was common to fiction in the nineties, but which now just feels a tad petulant. I’d skip this one if I were you.