I loathe this man with an intensity that makes my stomach hurt. Theo, my little Italian greyhound, hops up on the couch with me. He seems to enjoy the show almost as much as I do, his ears pricking up whenever the host makes an especially salient point. Nordically handsome with fine blond hair; charming and articulate; and completely unfazed at being watched by hundreds of thousands of people.
But this book did. Key Grip is a memoir in essays, in reverse chronological order. The first essay makes up fully a third of the book, followed by eleven shorter ones.
The narrator is a risk-taker, a thrill-seeker, with self-destructive behaviors. The book is about those behaviors, about mourning the death of his father, and about art: Smith is expert at engaging storytelling, such that the craft appears effortless or invisible.
As a classmate once said, the apparently effortless writing is the hardest to achieve. But for me, the most interesting element in this collection was its reverse-chronological organization. It is not only hilarious, but also gripping and pathos-ridden, gloriously told.
If I have a complaint, it is that we left this absorbing world and did not return to it. Instead, we go backwards in time, seeing Smith suffer the loss of his father, work as a key grip, get dissipated and wild with drugs etc.
Many of these essays are excellent in their own right. We know how to deal with disjointed jumpings around in time; but to start at the end, so to speak, can be a little disorienting.
Nevertheless, once I paid attention to what this backwards-order was doing, I decided I like the way meaning, and characterization of the protagonist, build. For one thing, this is very like how we get to know people in real life: Smith is a very fine storyteller, and these are amusing, sensational stories he has to tell, always with a note of sadness if not regret.
I do recommend his memoir.Dustin Beall Smith's first collection is by turns tender and searing, a memoir in linked essays written in blood with razor blades by a man who's life is both a cautionary tale and a triumphant initiativeblog.coms: 8.
Al Neipris is writing a book on golf. “It’s about my struggle,” he says, “to become a semirespectable golfer despite an almost complete lack of athletic ability and a temperament utterly unsuited to the game.”.
One of the ancestors he had in mind was my great great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Hannah Emerson Dustin, born Hannah Webster Emerson on December 23, , in the frontier village of Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Hannah spent the first thirty-nine years of her life in relative anonymity. Dustin Beall Smith's first collection is by turns tender and searing, a memoir in linked essays written in blood with razor blades by a man who's life is both a cautionary tale and a triumphant one/5(8).
Dustin Beall Smith came recommended for his contribution to You. That essay, called "being [t]here," didn't particularly grab me (put it up next to Kitchen for being amorphous or abstract, at least too much so for my perhaps overly literal mind).
But this book did. Key Grip is a . Dustin Beall Smith’s work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, BackStage, The Gettysburg Review, Hotel Amerika, the Louisville Review, the New York Times Magazine, Quarto, River Teeth, The Sun, Writing on the Edge, and elsewhere.