Sunday, July 03, 2011

Daddy's: a review

One of my best purchases at Printer's Row Lit Fest this year was a copy of Lindsay Hunter's book Daddy's, which I've been meaning to get my hands on for a while.  Those familiar with Chicago's literary scene, particularly the many local reading series events, will know Lindsay by her phenomenal, riveting reads.  Often funny, loud, irreverent, sweaty rants of pure awesomeness, her short stories start like the sweet tang of spicy Buffalo sauce and then burn the living hell out of your guts on the way down.

I'm ashamed now, because of how good the book ended up being, that I was skeptical at first if her printed work was going to be as good in my quiet living room chair as it was being howled at me through a microphone in a bar by Lindsay herself, but I'm here to assure all of you doubters that not only is Daddy's every bit the authentic experience in book form, but several of the stories here which I've not heard her read live quickly became some of my favorite work of hers.  Also, happily, the cadence of the words on the page was such that while I was reading them I was able at times to easily conjure her voice in my head using phrases like:

And then there was that day we had a dinner for you because you were leaving and I had the lady in town make you a five-layer fudge cake with a crushed potato chip layer, and on the top in script she wrote Food Luck instead of Good Luck, and I didn't say anything when I picked it up because Food Luck was goddamned right, you know?

And no, I didn't have to hunt for that, I just literally opened the book to a random page and copied the first sentence.  That's how Lindsay this book is, and really, let's be honest, for this book to BE Lindsay Hunter, all those riotously hilarious and still sorta-spooky turns of phrase, all that hellacious southern swagger, is all we really want or need.

But hey, since you asked, it's also by our friends at Featherproof, who turned it into a tacklebox that's opened horizontally and read like a folded letter instead of a book, and full of their usual earmarks of "we realize there's a human being on the other end of this book that likes to be entertained in more than just one way"-ishness, including such small but welcome touches as unobtrusive but oddly eye-catching illustrations and fine details that you'll notice obliquely but which have editors and book designers like me drooling (a particularly nice title page, and clever, innovative layout throughout).

The verdict: Hunter loaded for bear, Featherproof weaving their book-voodoo, and me left wondering if I wouldn't like flash fiction a hell of a lot more if it were all this good. If you like to read books out loud, this might be an early Christmas present to give yourself.  My favorite story of the whole thing? Marie Noe Talks to You About Her Kids gave me goosebumps. Not metaphorical emoticon internet goosebumps, I'm talking it turned the flesh of my arms into gravel.

Check it out here:


bookspersonally said...

What a great review. Love featherproof and their sense of fun in addition to great writing, however I was daunted by the horizontalishness of this one. Now I regret it :(

Sara G. said...

I was lucky enough to get to see her read from this in Iowa City. Had to buy it because her reading was scorching hot.