I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down Review
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In this gothic collection of short tales from the mountains of east Tennessee, the dark undercurrent below the surface of all of the lead characters leaves a funny taste in the reader’s mouth.

All thirteen of the stories are well crafted by William Gay, one of the foremost writers working in the Southern Fiction genre today. He’s been published in Harper’s, GQ, The Atlantic Quarterly, and various editions of New Stories from The South. All of his characters speak with realistic dialect and a smooth natural cadence. Each of helps to move the plot ahead. Each one causes a change in the characters they come in contact with. These are the marks of a strong writer.

The thing that readers remember most about this collection o
f short stories, though, is the subject. The focus moves from a murderous paperhanger in one story to an old man fighting living in an old folks home in another. There is the obligatory wise old man who gets the emotionally floundering young man back on track. Forty-plus year marriages ending after a dog gets shot is par for the course in this book.

A real darkness and sense of fatalism permeates these tales. It gets so deep at times that it makes you wonder what is really going on in Gay’s head. The lack of quotation marks around the sections of dialogue adds to this sense, creating an unusual texture. Some readers may not like the resulting sensation.

Well written and articulate, this book deserves to be read. It may not sit well with every reader but it is worth the effort to try.

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