Tag Archives: Barry Hannah

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.”