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"Above the Waterfall" by Ron Rash
In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times best-selling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land. Learn more
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"An unrelenting tide of startling, original and often a hallucinatory language. This is a journey inside of a magician's top hat...hilarious and fascinating." -Raewyn Alexander, author of What we Talk about when we Talk about Death, Money and Heart
"Hilarious and harrowing...Davis successfully renders a compelling portrait of a life lived in the arts but perched on the brink of the gutter." -Time Out New York
"Every page bursts with tongue-twisting, remarkable poetry...Davis has a particular knack for describing people and their seductions." -Underground Books
From the Inside Flap
"There is a wry humor in Davis that breaks out like strikes of lightning." -BOB WILLIAMS, The Compulsive Reader
"Davis proves an exceptional prose stylist by alternating Hemingway-esque simplicity with Joycean beauty; although his prose manages to rise to great heights, the dichotomy of his simplicity/poetics never lowers itself to artificiality or contrivances, and he somehow, miraculously, avoids slipping into that dreaded state of pretentiousness." -DAULTON DICKEY, Popmatters
Josh Davis has published three novels, Vanishing is the Last Art, The Muse and the Mechanism and What Rough Peace, and contributed to the collections Fish Drink Like Us and Last Night's Dreams Corrected. He lives in Maryland.
This book is going to be difficult to describe, but after reading it I think it deserves a review, so I'm going to try.
The reader is in the head of Charlie Fell, a writer who just published his first book. He is rarely sober, completely directionless, intelligent and sensitive, but too apathetic to get out of his slacker rut. His main source of income is the sale of baseball cards, and his life happens one day at a time, one moment at a time, sometimes just a series of observations strung together. He speaks in ironies and thinks in metaphor. Seeing from his perspective is disorienting and eye-opening, as his voice is unique, and every mundane object is assigned meaning.
The plot is slow paced and the character development is subtle at first, but undeniable. The real joy for me was the beauty of the writing itself; it's like swimming through someone else's hallucination. This won't be for everyone, but personally I love the style. It doesn't go easy on you; it makes you think. It wakes up your imagination. The prose can be mesmerizing, and the descriptions of places like New York are alive.
There are way too many bright people, full of potential, who live too much inside their own heads, or see the machine a little too clearly to do well as a part of it. I've known a few of them. They rarely get their s*** together in time to save themselves and Charlie's character felt very real and very familiar. I was rooting for a happy ending for him the entire time.
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