Library Snag

Sunday--a half hour in the library after arriving from Dublin the previous day.  Casting about trying to remember all of the things I read that I would like to read.  Last minute I look for Jerry Gabriel--and Wonder of Wonders, it's there on the Shelf--Drowned Boy.

from "Atlas"
in Drowned Boy
Jerry Gabriel

Uncle Donald's mind was a unique land populated by all manner of improbably scenarios about the world.


Uncle Donald had an axe to grind with Catholicism, which as a nonpracticing but still-believing Catholic made my Dad uncomfortable. Like other aspects of Uncle Donald's character, this one just didn't make much sense; as far as I knew, he himself espoused no particular brand of religion, Christianity or otherwise. So any source of origin for the antipathy was possible---neo-Nazi propaganda at the bolt factory, anti-Kennedy sentiment from twenty years back; it was impossible to say. My suspicion was that it had to do with Notre Dame football.

In any case Notre Dame generally seemed to elicit it.
Set in rural Ohio in a town named Moraine, Drowned Boy is a series of short stories that came highly recommended from other sources.  I had been looking forward to it since hearing about it. 

Digression: There is, incidentally, a real town of Moraine, now more a southern suburb of Dayton.  When I started reading, because of the name of the town, I had placed Moraine up near Bellefontaine (pronounced, for you outsiders Bell fountain).  That's where a lot of the glacial material is in Ohio.  However, frequent reference to Chillicothe, Raccoon Creek, Portsmouth, and Huntington quickly changed the landscape for me and I began thinking Adams and Brown counties in Ohio. 

Back on track: The point is that the stories create the sensation of the real, so real you want to place them on a map.  Moraine is probably not the town south of Dayton that you can find on a map--it may be in more southeastern Ohio--but the town is real in the way the stories are told, in the passions of those who live in a very small town, in the interactions of the characters, in the humor and life of the characters themselves.  I am very impressed so far--and I will be certain to keep you apprised of how I feel when I finish the entire collection.

(It was inspiring enough that last night I wrote a bit of my own Ohio project).


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