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Freight Paperback – September 9, 2011
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"...subtle and delightful...This fantastically innovative novel hints at even greater works to come." -Publishers Weekly
"Freight reads like vivid snapshots of feeling, sometimes snapshots of yourself...you recognize something in them at least, maybe humanity, and are intrigued...Bosworth has a kind of silent, delicate selection in his peripatetic prose, an under-stated supplication to the innate power of words. And it's this familiar staccato rhythm of repetition and yearning, delivered casually, that makes this technique of skipping back and forth feasible, and very readable." -The Huffington Post UK
"Mel Bosworth's Freight is in some ways a throwback, a sweet-souled, old-fashioned book wearing the armor (or maybe the Nehru jacket) of postmodernism." -American Book Review
I loved those choose-your-own-adventure books when I was a kid and now I love Mel Bosworth's Freight, a formally inventive novel that lets you choose how to read it, skipping back and forth between what happened and what will happen, a kind of page-turning time travel that makes the novel swirl together in wonderful ways." -Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody and Us
"Freight moves like a train through a familiar internal landscape where memory and thought detour and derail and yet somehow we end up transported, we end up moved. With spare and urgent prose, Mel Bosworth has written an extraordinary novel that is at once traditional and experimental in all the best ways." -Robert Lopez, author of Asunder
About the Author
Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel Freight, the poetry chapbook Every Laundromat in the World, and co-author with Ryan Ridge of the forthcoming collection Second Acts. His work has appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, Tin House, Per Contra, New World Writing, Santa Monica Review, Melville House, American Book Review, and elsewhere. A former series editor for the Wigleaf Top 50, he currently serves as an associate editor for The Best Small Fictions 2017 and is the creator & curator of the Small Press Book Review.
Mel lives in Western Massachusetts.
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Reminiscing is a means by which we explore our various eras, phases, mistakes, and elations in order to evaluate the person/s we have become. At the very least , reminiscing allows us a means by which we may perpetuate our child-like wonder, re-explore that which defines our respective constructs of love, or lack of love--the pigeon-toed girl wearing the stretched out V-neck T-shirt, the gentle neo-hippie prancing barefoot in the sand--reminiscing is visceral, terrifying, addicting, thick, and adjective upon adjective upon adjective. However, in its purest incarnation, reminiscing simply takes us home.
In Mel Bosworth's debut novel, Freight, we find ourselves led through a non-chronological-if-you-so-wish collection of encoded memories by our nostalgic narrator: a nameless, occasionally matter-of-fact, occasionally hyperbolic fellow who is searching--for that which is largely determined by the respective conglomeration of muck and paper airplanes and funerals and laugh-until-you-cries which coalesce uniquely within each of us--but ultimately, our narrator is searching for that place he defines as home, whether figuratively or literally.
Iconic objects permeate this multi-tiered search and each performs a specific, often overwhelmingly polar emotional function: tackling a freshly built snowman, our narrator's hands coming together as womb, results in a profound declaration of love and demonstrates the lengths to which our narrator will go to express his love, even if only for his recently destroyed snowman. This type of behavior thickly populates Freight and ensures that we challenge our own mastery of self-awareness. Despite the heft of the freight with which our narrator is grappling, we know that he knows what he likes and in this knowing we connect intensely, almost telepathically with our narrator and fight through the muck to rediscover, and possibly redefine home.
Sometimes, however, our narrator confuses those items he likes--cedar chest as time machines, a cute, drunken blonde girl--for those inherently deep affirmations he needs: it's okay that he assassinated the baby birds when he was husky; it's okay that he can't fix everything. In both this confusion as well as in the numerous snapshots stuffed with tranquility and clarity, Freight reminds us to savor every moment regardless of where each may land on the good/bad spectrum and to remain relentlessly and unapologetically alive. After all, that is what the search is all about, right?
If you hang around for long enough and don't destroy yourself proper, you get lucky and come across those good bits that Hansel and Gretel left behind in that forest. Yesterday on my run through the woods I found a $20 bill. It was just sprawled there in the soil, wet and limp for my taking. The day before that I found Mel Bosworth's first full novel "Freight" at my door. It was also just sprawled there but on my porch, crisp and clean, for my taking. And so I did.
Freight I Ate:
I ate Mel Bosworth's "Freight" quickly, but not without digesting it properly. It sounds like a contradiction of terms, but believe me...it settled down nicely. I ate "Freight" without adding any salt or pepper or chili flakes or Tabasco. Because it didn't need any of that. It was perfect as it was served. I ate it alongside a bottle of red wine. And then alongside another bottle of wine. So it could break down properly, you see.
Freight is the elegant, sensitive story of a man who carries things with him. Within him. Around him. And sometimes even above him. Freight is the story of every man. Or...EveryMan. Sometimes he discards things because the burden gets too heavy or because it sickens him, and sometimes he takes on too much. But he really doesn't discard all of anything. Bits of things remain for him to haul along. Things. You know these things well. They're life. Your life
Freight I Destroyed (epilogue):
I did no such thing. Mel Bosworth's "Freight" now resides quietly and comfortably on my shelf in my living room, just on top of Louis Armstrong's biography. I don't fear for its safety, though. Satchmo can carry that burden quite well. In fact, I'll bet he's thumbing through the chapters right now sporting that wide-tooth smile of his that captivated people almost as much as his blowing the hell out of that horn. Sometimes it is a Wonderful World.