Neal Barrett Jr.'s third book in as many months, Perpetuity Blues and Other Stories, is all previously published material but well worth the re-read.


More Blues From Barrett

Neal Barrett Jr.'s latest collection of stories, Perpetuity Blues and Other Stories (Golden Gryphon Press, 256 pp., $21.95), includes: a person with an unusually large head named Oral Blue (no one knows his last name) who lives in Marble Creek, Texas, and who "drank wine and acted funny and thought he came from outer space," an Uncle Ned who tells his niece that "death is one of your alternate lifestyles worth considering," and Emily Dickinson in the Wild West, pursued by savage Indians (and stealing a cowboy's verse). This is Barrett's take on what a meeting between Emily Dickinson and a cowboy from the Wild West might be like:

"My name is Mistress Dickinson. Mistress Emily Elizabeth Dickinson to be complete, though I caution you very strongly, Mr. Johnston, that while circumstances have thrown us together, you will not take the liberty of using my Christian name."

"Already knew who you was," Johnston said.

Emily was startled, struck with sudden fear. "Why, that is not possible. How could you know that?"

"Saw yer name when I went through yer belongin's," Johnston said.

"How dare you, sir!"

"Didn't mean to pry. Thought you was goin' to pass on 'fore the morning. Figured I ought git yer buryin' name."

This is Barrett's third outing in as many months, with a new novel, Interstate Dreams, out recently and The Hereafter Gang just reprinted (both works published by Mojo Press). Perpetuity Blues is all previously published material, but if there was ever a reason to collect someone's writings, and to think of them as a piece, an insane, hilarious, satirical, and mind-bending piece, this is it. Barrett will be at Barnes & Noble Guadalupe on Wednesday, February 9 at 7pm... Resistencia Bookstore has moved to 1801 S. First. raulsalinas' classic Un Trip Through the Mind Jail y Otras Excursions is being reissued from Houston's Arte Publico Press... Movie Stars Do the Dumbest Things, by Margaret Moser, Michael Bertin, and Bill Crawford is the No.2 bestseller at BookPeople... Talk about overdone ... if reading The New Yorker isn't enough for you, try one of these new books: Letters From the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross, edited by Thomas Kunkel; Some Times in America: And a Life in a Year at the New Yorker, by Alexander Chancellor; Wonderful Town: New York Stories From The New Yorker, edited by David Remnick; Life Stories: Profiles From the New Yorker, edited by David Remnick; and Gone: The Last Days of the New Yorker, by Renata Adler -- all of this because apparently last year's additions to the canon (Friends Talking in the Night: Sixty Years of Writing for The New Yorker by Phillip Hamburger; The World Through a Monocle: The New Yorker at Midcentury by Mary F. Corey; and Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing by Ved Mehta) just weren't enough...

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More Postscripts
The last time we heard about Karla Faye Tucker, she was being executed; now, almost four years later, there's a new novel about her. Or about someone very like her. And Beverly Lowry's classic Crossed Over, a memoir about getting to know Karla Faye Tucker, gets a reissue.

Clay Smith, Jan. 18, 2002

Not one day back from vacation and the growing list of noble souls who need to be congratulated is making Books Editor Clay Smith uneasy.

Clay Smith, Jan. 11, 2002


Raulsalinas, Margaret Moser, Michael Bertin, Bill Crawford, Neal Barrett Jr., Thomas Kunkel, Alexander Chancellor, David Remnick, Renata Adler, Mary F. Corey, Ved Mehta

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