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He and June drive to Montana together, but she leaves almost immediately, never to be heard from again. Winslow meets his students, all poet wannabes, and zeroes in on a pin-thin, tattooed girl half his age named Erika. She is bright, confrontational, and damaged. She drops into his office for Johnny Walker in a paper cup and Winslow quickly realizes that she is at least as troubled as he is. One of the other faculty members tells him that they are all worried about her: she is clearly starving herself to death and an alcoholic in the bargain. A perfect companion for Winslow in his current dark night of the soul.
In the hands of some novelists this would be just another dysfunctional relationship based on booze. Kevin Canty makes it gut-wrenchingly real, like the best of the blues, which Winslow loves and Erika can't stand. During a semester break, they take off in Winslow's Lincoln Town Car, the last relic of a past life and go south. Canty is a master at showing us the landscape, exterior and interior. Whether he is rhapsodizing about fly fishing--and these are the best lines about that since A River Runs Through It--or describing a hangover, a regret, a lost opportunity, he brings the moment to life: its beauty, ridiculousness, and poignancy. --Valerie Ryan
Damaged poet and anorexic student on drunken road trip. Beautifully written.Published 4 months ago by Lynn M
Ten years ago I read A Stranger in This World and thought I'd stumbled on the next Raymond Carver. That book hit me with the force of a semi crushing a soda can on the... Read morePublished on August 29, 2006 by Someone Like You
Where I saw this review is beyond me. That I read the book is the substantive thing. It knocked my socks off - not as smelly as Winslow's but they still could benefit from a good... Read morePublished on May 14, 2005 by Fairbanksreader