In the spirit of Tobias Wolff and Richard Ford, these ten chilling, deeply felt stories from acclaimed author Brad Barkley explore the complexity of male friendships and marital relationships.
Among the stories is "The Way It's Lasted," in which Billy deals with his crumbling marriage and a visit from his father, who may or may not have cancer and who is desperate to see the reconstruction of Noah's Ark at a nearby church. "Beneath the Deep, Slow Motion" introduces us to Bosco and Ray, two drifters who scheme about murdering a neighbor and stealing his diamond collection so that they can afford to pay doctors to save Bosco from an untimely death. Nelson's mother, Myra, in "Mistletoe," has Lou Gehrig's disease, and he struggles with her request for help in killing herself before the disease does. The title story brings us to Reed, who feels reluctant to leave his childhood friend Sugar---who was crippled in a logging accident ten years ago---when Reed's much younger girlfriend, Lyndsey, pressures him to move on.
In these stories and others, Barkley's prose---and his ability to create a palpable sense of time and place and mood---bring his characters vividly to life. Through these honestly crafted and carefully executed tales of people who find themselves banging their heads against their reduced circumstances, Barkley restores our faith in human beings' ability to endure the ravages of time with decency and humor. With his touching and critically praised novel Alison's Automotive Repair Manual, Barkley established himself as a writer to watch, and in Another Perfect Catastrophe, he proves to be at the height of his powers.
"Underline this writer as one whose work needs to be on your shelf. You will be much the better for it." ---Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
and Other Stories