Here is a dandy little review of The Crawford County Sketchbook from the good folks at Kirkus Reviews. Please go and have a read...
"An elaborate morality play set among the cult of Southerners and their haunted landscapes."
"Grotesque tales of the struggle between good and evil from a dark corner of the American heartland."
15 June 2015
01 June 2015
I work on a fetching tuna boat. That is probably news to you, as so few people work on fetching tuna boats these days, and when they do they are reluctant to admit it. They usually keep the fetching tuna boat stories to themselves.
Oh, the tuna boat is fetching, all right. She's all dolled up, but not in a gaudy way. Our captain has strung lights around the pilothouse – little electric lights that are in the shape of anthropomorphic jalapeño peppers, complete with tiny sombreros, mustaches, and sunglasses. They make the pilothouse look cheery, and when we are working on the fetching deck it makes us smile, knowing that our captain cares enough about us to string such festive lights on the fetching tuna boat.
During the day, we sail about and look for tuna. We never find any, seeing as how we sail upon the Mississippi River, and there are no tuna for hundreds of miles. Hell, maybe thousands of miles. I have no idea, as I have never seen a tuna in the wild – only in a can. That doesn't matter, though, as the captain tells us that we are one of the best tuna boat crews he has ever had work for him. We do all the things necessary to catch lots of tuna, and the first mate has even learned to make the harmonious tuna call using only his right hand, held firmly to his lips. He makes the harmonious tuna call, and we strain our eyes looking for the approach of the elusive tuna.
None ever comes.
In the afternoons we take siesta. It is pleasant and restful, taking siesta in our bunks below decks on the fetching tuna boat. Our captain has thoughtfully provided small nap mats that we may spread on the deck if the weather is warm and we wish to take siesta topside. When it is cool, we go to our bunks and listen to the waves lap at the hull of our fetching tuna boat. It lulls us to sleep with great ease.
In the evenings, after dinner, we will often gather on the lido deck to sing songs and play the concertinas. Each of us was issued a concertina when we signed on to the fetching tuna boat, and the first mate gives group concertina lessons each night, unless he is sober. The waves lap at the hull of our fetching tuna boat, the sound of sea chanties rolls out over the deck, and old man Bettendorf dances a merry jig until his prosthetic leg comes loose, causing him to hop back to his seat. We close the evenings with toasts of absinthe to our captain, and then we retire below decks. Only the first mate stays topside, keeping watch and drinking until he has passed out.
We enjoy our life here upon the fetching tuna boat, but we question our vocation. We have yet to spy a tuna, let alone catch one. Some of the crew say that it is our technique. Some say it is that our boat needs to be arrayed in an even more fetching manner. Others claim it has to do with the stars and the way the constellation of the Archer has risen in the East, bringing with it wary schools of tuna. We labor on, enjoying our life but never achieving our goal.
Some say that all of life is like that.
I work on a fetching tuna boat.