rEprint Series Ebooks
Circle View, by Brad Barkley
Circle View, by Brad Barkley
Brad Barkley’s first collection of short stories centers on the lives of working-class men and women frequently fighting desperation or dissatisfaction, but a few of the thirteen illuminating tales maintain hope, despite the long odds against happiness.
From Publishers Weekly
Barkley's 13 stories are built around concrete things: a tunnel, a book, a drive-in, a diner, a grove of trees. These settings and props anchor a memorable cast of small-town Americans who, battered by fortune, live in the wreckage of old dreams: the owner of the defunct drive-in theater of the title story; the former garage mechanic of "Porter's Dodge"; the once-great clown Hobo Ned of "Clown Alley." The bewildered family of "The New Us" finds that having too much money can be as corrosive as having too little. But these characters are not to be denied. The deadbeat dad drifter of "Extent of Fatherhood" bases his paternal fantasy on an unread book. Even when too telegraphic, the stories have the sweet resonance of Saturday Evening Post fiction caught in a 1990s milieu. Perhaps the most impressive work is "Smoke," which deftly overlays a web of relationships around Eck Voight, a former cop and cigarette-maker dying of cancer. In this solid debut, Barkley manages the admirable trick of getting the reader to care about his all-too-recognizable burnt-out cases.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Barkley's first collection of short stories centers on the lives of working-class men and women frequently fighting desperation or dissatisfaction, but a few of the 13 illuminating tales maintain hope, despite the long odds against happiness. The title story is a rather desolate piece about a couple who owns a drive-in theater that, like their marriage, never gets off the ground. The wife thinks she has accepted her life until a stranger shows up. Another wife in a troubled marriage appears in "Knots," where the main character becomes fed up with her husband of 10 years, a man who has become increasingly childish. In "Under Water," the unpredictability of life is explored, often humorously, with the characters trying to find peace among the chaos. And a strange validation of the self occurs in "Porter's Dodge." Barkley's a talented new writer who deserves a wide readership. Brian McCombie
ABOUT BRAD BARKLEY
Brad Barkley grew up in North Carolina where he still visits a few times a year. After that, he lived on the coast of Maryland, the mountains of Arkansas, the coast of North Carolina (again), and the mountains of Maryland (again). A pattern emerges. Besides Scrambled Eggs At Midnight, he is the author of two novels and two story collections for adults. He has also co-authored, with Heather Hepler, Dream Factory and Jars of Glass. To learn more about his work, please visit www.bradbarkley.com