Fiction. Short Stores. POTATO TREES's 41 stories, with their vivid imagery, poetic language and heart-wrenching emotions, are Sallis at his edgiest, most indefinable best. James Sallis is best-known for his six-volume Lew Griffin cycle, his authoritative biography of Chester Himes, the novel DRIVE which the New York Times called "a perfect noir novel", and for his criticism of literary, foreign-language and genre writing.
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James Sallis has published short stories, poems, translations, essays and other nonfiction in publications ranging from Ellery Queen s Mystery Magazine and the New York Times to The Georgia Review. His books include eleven novels, multiple collections of stories, a biography of Chester Himes, three books of musicology, and a translation of Raymond Queneau s novel Saint Glinglin. For several years he wrote a regular books column for the Boston Globe, and still reviews regularly for the L.A. Times, Book World and others, as well as contributing a quarterly review column to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Jim teaches at Phoenix College in Arizona and at Otis College in L.A. He also works as a musician, performing solo, as a sideman with various bluegrass groups and singer-songwriters, and as a founding member of Three-Legged Dog, a trio of multi-instrumentalists.From Publishers Weekly:
Readers unfamiliar with versatile author Sallis (Drive), slated to receive a lifetime achievement award at this year's Bouchercon, will get a flavor of his unique gifts in this collection of 41 short stories, many no more than two or three pages long. These are probably best sampled in small doses, so that the well-chosen phrases and haunting images can linger on the mental palate. A few, like "53rd American Dream," an account of a family of cannibals, and "Notes," an obscure collection of endnotes without a main text, fall flat, especially compared with the book's high points. "Others," an account of an isolated man living vicariously through personal ads, and "Alaska," a taut vignette about an emergency-room encounter between former lovers, are standouts, but virtually all the selections have at least one memorable moment. Some of the odd turns are reminiscent of Paul Auster's earliest works, and many successfully convey human loneliness and despair in a way that Cornell Woolrich would have found familiar. (Apr.)
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