Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 21

Book:  Trajectory.
Author: Richard Russo

Info: Copyright 2017: New York:  Random House Large Print

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✮

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

CategoryImpulse reads.  I know absolutely nothing about the author, but I do like short stories.  I saw an article about this book in The Anniston Star and since it was at our local library, I thought I'd give a read.

What it's about:  Trajectory is a collection of four short stories.  In "Horseman," a young literature professor has to contend with a student's plagiarism, plus her own shortcomings.  "Voice" chronicles two brothers who use a mishap-ridden tour of Italy as a means of escaping past traumas-- some of their own making, some that made them.  A life-threatening diagnosis finds a realtor in the mist of "Intervention."  His family and friends are intervening on his behalf to try to prevent him from following in his father's footsteps in dealing with his illness. He is trying to prevent a client's obsession with preserving her late father's memory from costing her the sale of her house.  "Melton and Marcus" is a romp into the world of film writing, Hollywood stars, and the backbiting nature of the industry.

What I liked:
  • Russo's stories were engaging.  Even with the stories I liked the least, his writings drew me in to want to see how they ended.
  • From what little I could find about the author, his stories are viewed as biographical in nature.  I like that he put a bit of himself and his experiences into each story.
  • The characters were not stock maudlin characters (unless they were supposed to be); they were quite believable and real.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author's portrayal of characters outside of his regional comfort zone were a bit suspect, if not downright insulting. Not racist, or bigoted, just not with the clarity and tolerance I would expect a writer of this caliber (Pulitzer Prize level) to possess.
  • The stories would have been just as good without the use of so much profanity.
  • Russo uses a lot of bold type rather than the standard grammatical use of italics, quotation marks, or punctuation to show emotion or to emphasize a point.  While it was a bit distracting to me, it may be a unique trait of his writing style.

This was a total departure from the type of literature I read, but I'm not sorry I read it.  While I may not read any more of Russo's works, this collection of stories took me out of my literary and emotional comfort zone.  I like happier stories, so I had to remember that unresolved conflict is part of the nuance of this literary style.

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