My Review of Barry Hannah’s Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories Is Live

Check out my review of Barry Hannah’s Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories at Rain Taxi: Review of Books, Online Edition: Summer 2011. Here’s an excerpt:

Reading through Long, Last, Happy, you can’t help but be struck by Hannah’s attentiveness to life as it’s lived by largely unlikeable characters, lively and unlovely—or perhaps lovely because of their liveliness. His fictional world offers readers a panoply of the grotesque, picturesque, and burlesque, a true variety show of shysters, wastrels, ne’er-do-wells, hacks, and failures; hideous schemers and beautiful dreamers; also musicians, soldiers, writers, and academics, not to mention racists and homophobes, each of whose fabulous foibles are incisively rendered in sentences which, without mincing words, make mincemeat of our hypocrisy, dishonesty, malice, violence, and other assorted failings, what Hannah, in “Dragged Fighting from His Tomb,” describes as that “bog and labyrinth” where we are all “overbrained and overemotioned.” It’s the kind of language, rendered as much with and for the eye as with and for the ear, that struck Hannah “as a miracle, a thing the deepest mind adores,” a musical language: an “orchestra of the living” accompanying “memory, the whole lying opera of it.”

2 responses to “My Review of Barry Hannah’s Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories Is Live

  1. Hey Johnny, it’s Joseph your cousin. I have been reading your reviews and writings lately. I’m a fan of yours. WOW, I am impressed by your depth of analysis and writing skills. Keep up the good work. I’ve never read 75 books in my lifetime and you’ve done that in a single year. I guess counting public school, college and independent reading, I may have reached 50?, I dunno, LOL! Congratulations on going to Brown. That’s the big time. Like your brother David said, you’re a smart BUBBA.

    • Thanks, Joseph! It’s always nice to know that my family is enjoying what I’m doing. I really appreciate your having checked out some of my reviews. I hope some of them will lead you to pick up the books under scrutiny. As for reading, books, for me, are a kind of food. And, you are, after all, what you eat.

      I endeavor to read at least a hundred books a year. Last year, I read 115 books. Because of all my moving around this year, I’ve only read about 65 books so far, so I’m not sure if I’ll reach that goal.

      Thanks for the shine about being accepted into Brown’s M.F.A. in Literary Arts Program. It feels wonderful.

      Take care,


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