Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas: Stories by Davy Rothbart

If you like short stories about people down on their luck, mostly because they have absolutely no idea of how to cope with life, I have the book for you. You should read The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart. I think every story has a connection to prison. The characters are either in or just out of prison or, if they are young, their parents are in prison. They are all adrift. The young men are all hopelessly in love with women who flirted with them but have no long time interests. Many of the central characters are beaten up at some point in the story. Violence is random. No one can hold a job. Rothbart's universe is very bleak.

I did not plan to read this book right after seeing the movies Walk the Line and Capote, but it is a good follow-up. The book is well-written, and I think I will remember the stories for a long time. Filled with strong language, they are not for easily offended readers. The stories could be read as cautionary tales: "Do not live like this."

Rothbart, Davy. The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas: Stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN 0743263057

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