Friday, May 29, 2015

The definition of writing fearlessly

When critics say a book is fearless, usually they mean the characters do drugs or die unexpectedly. But Frank Bill is a legitimately fearless writer. The man simply does not give a fuck.

He does not give a fuck about writing how people talk. The women in Donnybrook ask questions like, “Say I am that shape of hunger?” And men taunt each other with threats they’ll “segregate your eyes.”

He does not give a fuck about repetition. He does not give a fuck how many times men “separate the air” with their fists. (If they keep punching, apparently the air will keep separating.) And Bill's on a one man crusade to reintroduce the word “sour” to America.

He doesn’t give a fuck about heroes. Donnybrook’s Jarhead begins the book robbing a gun store, leaving the proprietor covered in tears and “clear mucus mixed with blood.” And Jarhead’s easily the most likable guy in the book.

See, Frank Bill is fearless. Not because his characters do meth, although they do. But because he’s found a unique dialect and his own rhythm, and he’s determined to use them to rip through Kentuckiana the way twisters rip Oklahoma. And he’s going to do it whether you like it or not.

It's not that Donnybrook's the best book I've ever read (although I did five-star it). It’s just good to see something that’s grasping for greatness. That’s original and rude. That can legitimately be called fearless.

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