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Bret Anthony Johnston

Författare till Remember Me Like This

6+ verk 783 medlemmar 59 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Bret Anthony Johnston's fiction has been featured in The Paris Review and Open City, as well as many anthologies, including New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2003 and 2004; Prize Stories: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002; and Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999. A graduate of visa mer the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he received a teaching-writing fellowship, he teaches creative writing at California State University, San Bernardino visa färre
Foto taget av: Photo by Diani, via bretanthonyjohnston.com

Verk av Bret Anthony Johnston

Associerade verk

The Best American Short Stories 2011 (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 351 exemplar
The Best American Short Stories 2013 (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 279 exemplar
New Stories from the South 2008: The Year's Best (2008) — Bidragsgivare — 51 exemplar
New Stories from the South 2010: The Year's Best (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 39 exemplar
The Writer's Notebook II: Craft Essays from Tin House (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 38 exemplar
New Stories from the South 2004: The Year's Best (2004) — Bidragsgivare — 33 exemplar
New Stories from the South 2005: The Year's Best (2005) — Bidragsgivare — 28 exemplar
Stories from the Blue Moon Café III (2004) — Bidragsgivare — 19 exemplar
Stories from the Blue Moon Café IV (2005) — Bidragsgivare — 15 exemplar
The Alumni Grill: Volume II, Anthology of Southern Writers (2005) — Bidragsgivare — 7 exemplar

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Should you tell a teenage love story in the context of one of America’s most horrific law enforcement overreactions? Well, probably not. Merging these two disparate plotlines presents with some writing problems that unfortunately Johnston does not fully resolve.

The novel focuses on a fictional retelling of the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas as told through the eyes of two love-besotted 14-year-olds. These kids just don’t have the life experience to understand what is happening before their eyes, thus making them less than believable narrators.

Based on information regarding a weapons cache, the ATF mounted an extended siege against a religious cult lead by David Koresh culminating in a massive fire and multiple deaths. In this retelling, the Koresh role is played by a former landscaper and con man posing as a prophet named Perry Cullen (“the Lamb”). The Cullen character displays few of the charismatic qualities one would expect to find in a convincing cult leader. Instead, he seems to be a pretty ordinary guy on the make.

Jaye Carroll is a bold, back-talking girl who is wise beyond her years. Her mother uproots her from her newspaper deliverer father and a California lifestyle to join Cullen’s cult. Her mother’s motivations are never very clear, yet Johnston suggests she may have been involved romantically with Cullen. Notwithstanding his relationship with her mom, Perry clearly has eyes for Jaye. She, on the other hand, sees through this and takes advantage of him by using his pick-up truck and phone to communicate with her real boyfriend, Roy Moreland. Johnston’s failure to evoke much of a loving relationship between Jaye and her mother or even between Jaye and Roy seem to be important shortcomings in his narrative.

Roy is the youngest son of the local sheriff. His older brother is off in the military and his mom is otherwise involved. His dad is his strongest familial connection, but this evaporates when the shooting starts at the cult compound. Unlike Jaye, who plies him with witty banter and daring exploits, Roy is naïve and malleable. Once the stand-off begins, Roy also loses connection with Jaye. His heroic behavior to save her seems inconsistent with his mild persona.

Most of the minor characters in the novel, including the teens’ parents and the members of Perry’s cult, are not well developed. Cult participation in gun shows and Roy’s discovery of grenades suggest some truth to the notion that the commune had weapons, but ultimately Johnston seems to waffle on this point. Clearly, weapons and ammunition eventually were discovered at the actual Branch Davidian site.

The two first-person narratives lead to a disjointed storyline, a flaw that Johnston compounds by interspersing a series of podcast interviews throughout to novel. These interruptions, along with the unreliability of the two teenaged narrators and the unconvincing presentation of Perry as a charismatic cult leader detract from enjoying of this novel.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
ozzer | Apr 6, 2024 |
Whew! Gripping story! I am gasping as I finish it - racing for the end to see what happens!
This story of a family torn apart as their son is kidnapped holds interest throughout - not because there is a lot of action, but more because the inner life of the characters is so well explored. The family falls apart, delicately and dramatically, they find places of contact that then seem to sever, they hide from each other and reveal only little bits at a time.
In other books, this can be annoying. You want to sit them all in a room and demand they talk to each other and stop being ridiculously secretive. But,given the setup in this story, the experience they all endure, the guilt they all feel, the secrecy seems real, and necessary for each character.
Fantastically well done and a great read. Unsettling, but there is hope at the end.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
Dabble58 | 53 andra recensioner | Nov 11, 2023 |
Great story. Not really sure what happened in the end (don't want to spoil anything for anybody), so I won't say more. Great writing. A story of redemption I think, and that love can save us.
 
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Maryjane75 | 53 andra recensioner | Sep 30, 2023 |

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Statistik

Verk
6
Även av
12
Medlemmar
783
Popularitet
#32,506
Betyg
½ 3.8
Recensioner
59
ISBN
28
Språk
4
Favoritmärkt
1

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