Marion Field was raised in Indiana by Southern parents who tried to ensure she spend all her summers in the often-unairconditioned Deep South. She used to work at THE OA and now lives in her father's hometown, Monroe, Georgia.
Most people have not heard of Breece Pancake. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when he was twenty-six and The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, was published several years after his death. The Stories—violent, haunting, and heartbreakingly beautiful—inspired Kurt Vonnegut to write John Casey that “As for Breece D’J Pancake: I give you my word of honor that he is merely the best writer, the most sincere writer I’ve ever read. What I suspect is that it hurt too much, was no fun at all to be that good. You and I will never know.”
“A lot of people leave Arkansas and most of them come back sooner or later. They can’t quite achieve escape velocity,” Charles Portis wrote in his third novel, The Dog of The South. Escape velocity is the projectile force required to send a bullet from a supergun (for instance) fast and far enough that it will break free of gravity and orbit around space rather than return to Earth.
This is where Assumption comes in. It is full of surprises. Everett, a Georgia-born, South Carolina-raised, California-based writer and professor known for his bedeviling literary intellectualism, has published more than twenty books since his first. They appear to be about something, but are nuanced and curious in ways that can’t be summed up in a dust-jacket blurb. That is to say, they aren’t just about something; they are about everything.
Even the way she has assembled the stories that compose Aerogrammes plays homage to these outsider tales. It is not a collection unified entirely by voice, characters, location, or genre. “When I was putting the collection together, I knew that some of the stories strayed from the rest in voice or tone, but I like collections that have a wild card or two, like a hidden track on a CD,” James told Washington City Paper.
When the book opens, Buster is writing a freelance magazine piece on former military men who have used the hours of their unemployment to create the most powerful spud gun known to man. For a thrill, he lets them shoot a can off his head. He then lets them do it again. The second time, the potato misses the can and hits Buster in the face.