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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The appalachian examined life, August 19, 2012
By 
Samuel Moss (MERCER ISLAND, WA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (Paperback)
Scott McClanahan busts out these really touching stories from his life in West Virginia with all the painful, funny, jarring events that come along with living in postcoal Appalachian. The stories look at events that occur to McClanahan or the burnouts that live in his town, where decades of poverty and crushed dreams seem to warp logic and reason: when a friend accidentally hits a deer (and it survives) it comes completely naturally to run it over again, then mash its head in with a thermos, and when McClanahan witnesses two car crashes he assumes he has the power to cause these crashes. There is a considerable amount of violence in these stories and McClanaham can switch from absurd hilarity to gore in the blink of an eye. He navigates the changes masterfully. McClanahan has this tendency to end a lot of his stories with one sentence that has "impact". This has a hit or miss quality that can make good stories great but after three or four instances of these I was left scratching my head and wondering if it was really necessary every time. McClanahan often addresses the reader directly and does it well. He makes you think, asks you questions, gives you his phone number...He writes like he's having a conversation and this brings you in, makes you care about the characters and his life. The first few stories have a particularly moral bent, not preachy but McClanahan seems genuinely concerned with and explores what makes an action "good": one's intent? the eventual outcome? He never suggests a right or wrong path but does ask that we look at our actions more carefully, and seems to be suggesting a jaded pessimism. At least toward the inhabitants of his town. He also touches on the modern taboo of religion, though ambiguously. It is hard to tell whether he is religious or not (it hardly matters) but it works in his writing and simply to have the cojones to write what he does for the particularly atheist literary audience is respectable in itself.

One story stood out particularity in which he explores those around him that have committed suicide, and posits that the drive to kill one's self is contagious like a fever and that by writing about it he has transferred the "fever" to the reader. I honestly found myself a little freaked out after reading this story but after a few minutes realized that this was simply due to the power of his writing. Anyone that convince you that you might kill yourself in the course of a short story is powerful writer indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfection?, April 29, 2014
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This collection of stories is actually superior to Crapalachia, I do believe. Not one story isn't just right. Good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Absurdity, March 23, 2014
By 
Tower (Minneapolis) - See all my reviews
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These are some of the funniest stories I've ever read. This reads like a hilarious memoir of an absurd life. The order of the stories doesn't always make sense, but then again, neither does life! Congratulations to Mr. McClanahan on such a great collection. It's impossible to read this without laughing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a part of Virginia, but an entire state of its own., August 30, 2012
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This review is from: The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (Paperback)
I read this book sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people. Afterwards I thought longer and harder about those people than I think I would otherwise. McClanahan has a gift with words and a wisdom beyond his years. Its hard to imagine some of these stories ending more perfectly. He makes me want to be a grandfather some day, or maybe avoid people entirely, or at least own a porch with a chair on it. You owe it to yourself to read these stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a favorite, September 7, 2014
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Scott's work resonates with me for some reason. I am not sure if it is style or content, maybe both. Whatever the case may be, this collection is wonderful. I also recommend clicking his name up there under the book title and buying everything else that pops up in the search.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This was like listening to an interesting new friend tell about his ..., October 20, 2014
This was like listening to an interesting new friend tell about his life in another part of the country, only much better. An easygoing, minimal style was used very effectively throughout. I will be reading all of Scott McClanahan's books in the future.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME, February 23, 2014
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Don't spend all day reading amazon reviews, just buy the book, and follow the coal train into the mountains of WV, because you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Genius, January 11, 2014
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This review is from: The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (Paperback)
This was my primer to the genius of Scott McClanahan.

His first two short story books are collected here, beginning with a strange introduction by Black Butler.

Standouts include: "The Rainelle Story," about One Armed Johnny and how he became that way; "The Homeless Guy," about a man who loses his sanity (and everything else) after a bum throws a bologna sandwich at his truck; and "The Prettiest Girl in Texas," about a stripper with a special gift. In fact, most stories in this book could qualify as a favorite.

There is even an afterword where ("ARE YOU READY?") writer Sam Pink discusses his fantasy of wanting to strangle McClanahan to death, which is very entertaining.

Here, McClanahan offers up a fresh take on southern storytelling which newer generations (those too young and/or inexperienced to have discovered Larry Brown/Richard Ford/Bobbie Anne Mason) can enjoy.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tales, April 30, 2013
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This review is from: The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (Paperback)
As a person who tries to purchase most of what Lazy Fascist puts out I was not expecting this. Simple stories that remind me of how life should be. Simple and Slow. So of course its based in the southern united states. McClanahan has a way to tell a story that just feels authentic and real and distant from technology and gadgets that overrun our lives today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Also be sure to pick up Scott's Crapalachia, September 2, 2014
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Fantastic. Also be sure to pick up Scott's Crapalachia.
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The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1
The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 by Scott McClanahan (Paperback - May 28, 2012)
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