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Airships av Barry Hannah

Airships (urspr publ 1978; utgåvan 1994)

av Barry Hannah

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4471242,340 (3.89)15
Now considered a contemporary classic, Airships was honored by Esquire magazine with the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award. The twenty stories in this collection are a fresh, exuberant celebration of the new American South -- a land of high school band contests, where good old boys from Vicksurg are reunited in Vietnam and petty nostalgia and the constant pain of disappointed love prevail. Airships is a striking demonstration of Barry Hannah's mature and original talent.… (mer)
Författare:Barry Hannah
Info:Grove Press (1994), Paperback, 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek (inactive)
Taggar:to-read, have-to-read-fiction


Airships av Barry Hannah (1978)


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» Se även 15 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 12 (nästa | visa alla)
The stories about Jeb Stuart, in particular. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
Good set of stories. “Mother Rooney Unscrolls the Hurt” a sequel/prequel to Geronimo Rex, (believe Hannah said it was the 1st story of his he liked, that took); weird stories of a future South that could be included in any Post-apocalyptic anthology. Funny stories about JEB Stuart and other Southern men. ( )
  ez_reader | Jul 7, 2019 |
Barry Hannah was considered a writer's writer. He was also a distinctly Southern writer who could by turns be comedic, philosophical or poignant--sometimes all at once. Many stories in this collection of 20 take unexpected turns, and I came upon many turns of phrases that really struck me.

Still, I honestly and truly only enjoyed four of the stories in their entirety. I could have done without the rest, even if impressed by some of them, like "Mother Rooney Unscrolls the Hurt." I felt acutely depressed while reading that one, but as it went on I felt other things and none those feelings were pleasant. By the end, Mother Rooney had turned into a grotesquery that made me glad I was finished with the book.

There was at least one story that made me wonder what the hell I had just read. His characters are complexly pathetic and often surprisingly self-aware though that doesn't prevent them from being people you wouldn't want to meet in real life. Most of his male characters are psuedo intellectuals or macho lugs and the women absent or a bit despicable. He indulges in a casual usage of the n-word, which seems to me appropriate to the times and places in which the stories are set. Sex, when it happens, is sometimes rough, sometimes ridiculous. His settings include small 20th century Southern towns, the Civil War, the post-apocalyptic future, and Vietnam during America's war there.

The stories I did like quite a bit--each of them phenomenal--are: "Testimony of Pilot," "Midnight and I'm Not Yet Famous," "Our Secret Home," and "Eating Wife and Friends." All four are worthy of five stars and as unlike one another as an apple, an orange, a camel, and a seashell. I think that's what made it worthwhile though, as I say, there were places I didn't want to linger, characters I did not want to know, and emotions I prefer keeping tamped down. ( )
  mpho3 | May 28, 2019 |

Barry Hannah - photo of the writer from the glorious state of Mississippi

Quote from “Escape to Newark” my favorite in the collection: "Once he prayed the Lord to shorten his member and turn his testicles to ash. He viewed her as a sort of rabid hippopotamus cornering him in one bad dream after another. And she smoked five packs a day, often as not an ember between her lips as she rutted above him, spitting out fire all over him on the arrival of her moment. The last horror was when she thought she needed a child. She wanted to call it Buck or Francine, depending. She got melancholy and cried huge tears because nothing "took." She had her heart attack trying again. Not only did she die on the spot, but he thought she was asleep, and suffered her weight until he smelled something odd." This story includes a spaceship and a trip to not so far out outer space with a landing in, you guessed it, Newark, New Jersey.

You have to love Barry's earthy land of cotton black humor. 20 short stories collected here and published as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series. All of a sudden, Barry Hannah has become my favorite author from the American South - love not only his black humor but how he occasionally mixes in surrealism or science fiction or fantasy.

Again, that’s back humor as in the short-short story, “That’s True” when the narrator tells us he will never forget the summer when a man named Lardner from his home state of Louisiana posing as a psychiatrist, complete with thick glasses, mustache and fake gnarled hand, especially fake gnarled hand since patients identify with a shrink who has a physical defect, traveled to New York, set up office in midtown Manhattan with five phony diplomas displayed on the wall and instantly cured the mental ills of his sorry-ass patients. Decked out as a bona fide psychiatrist, Lardner, flimflam man par excellence, recorded his sessions, the patients agreeing to said recordings since they all were into “creativity.”

A snippet from one of the tapes: Patient: I’ve taken such evil crap from men, I hates all men. Dr. Lardner: “Why?” Patient: “I thought you’d want to know ‘what.’ Dr. Lardner: “You got the wrong doctor. Down on Fifth Avenue, about a dozen doors away, there’s a good ‘what’ doctor. A little more expensive.” And the flimflam man flimflams on, a great little tale and that’s no bamboozle.

Several of the very short stories slide from Flannery O’Connor Southern Gothic to Monty Python absurdist, which might strike you as both weird and mighty implausible, as if old Blue, bleary-eyed bloodhound lying on the porch of a ramshackle Mississippi cabin, all of a sudden sprouted wings, soared up in the sky, performed double flips and started whistling Dixie. But, in a way, that’s exactly what happens, as in “Pete Resists the Man of His Old Room” when Tardy’s Mama shouts at the approach of a mangy man with dirty fingernails, brandishing a dagger. Meanwhile, Tardy and Pete are necking on the front porch as their 30-year-old child rides on a custom-made tricycle singing Awwww . . . Oobbbbbbb. Pete tells Mama to lay off since the guy is his old college roommate. The mangy grubber goes for Pete with his dagger but gets caught in a huge rose hedge and shouts how he remembers Pete from college, how he was skinny, cried about a Longfellow poem and puked at a drive-in. To this, Pete asks Tardy to get his piece. So, after he cuts away some of the rose hedge, Pete unloads both barrels – dagger and bits of flesh splatter in the street and then Pete tells his son on the trike to go get his wagon and do the necessary clean-up.

“Water Liars” features a narrator who was raised Baptist and senses there will be something holy with meaning in his life since he turned thirty-three this past year, the age when Jesus was crucified. Turns out, the story contains both truth and crucifixion not only for the narrator who is racked by jealousy over what he wife did or did not do back as a teenager but also a serious truth and crucifixion for one of the old men who takes on the role of a water liar. You will have to read for yourself to see how all this fits together.

The longest piece in the collection “Testimony of Pilot” introduces a narrator from Clinton, Mississippi recounting his experience first as a twelve-year old prankster, then a drum playing high schooler and finally, a college student made deaf by drumming. A remarkable boy named Arden Quadberry and Quadberry’s girlfriend Lilian play a major role in the story, most especially Quadberry.

There’s one unforgettably moving scene where Quadberry with his sweet, magical saxophone takes over the high school orchestra as both lead soloist and orchestra conductor playing Ravel’s Bolero for a state musical championship. And further on in the story the narrator spins out the tale of how Quadberry went off to Annapolis and eventually became a jet pilot flying bombing missions into North Vietnam. Barry Hannah’s story soars in an imaginative combining of saxophone and jet fighter improvisation, a combination captured beautifully and artfully by the designer of this book cover:

There are over a dozen other stories I haven’t touched on in my review so you will have to order a copy of Airships so you can fly with Barry yourself. Roger, over and out. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Maybe 4.5 stars. A great collection. Many stand out stories--all of them dark, funny, and sad--and, even in the weaker ones, Hannah writes fantastic sentences. ( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
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Now considered a contemporary classic, Airships was honored by Esquire magazine with the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award. The twenty stories in this collection are a fresh, exuberant celebration of the new American South -- a land of high school band contests, where good old boys from Vicksurg are reunited in Vietnam and petty nostalgia and the constant pain of disappointed love prevail. Airships is a striking demonstration of Barry Hannah's mature and original talent.

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