Sunday, September 3, 2017

All Things All at Once by Lee K Abbott

An ordinary Joe from New Mexico reflects upon life in these United States, women, and a few supernatural happenings

These stories are full of life and typically start in bravado fashion, opening with an extremely long and complex sentence. The rest of the paragraphs are mix of high falutin vocabulary and the vernacular. The most striking thing is that in this collection of 23 stories, every single narrator or narrative consciousness turns out to be a middle aged white guy from New Mexico who likes golf. This whole book is like a flashback from the Sixties. Not that there’s anything wrong with that narrative consciousness. But even in 1969, twenty three times in a row? There’s a lot of disappointed first wives in here, and good natured good timey gals. The themes are musty.

The Vietnam stories were good, especially “Love is the Crooked Thing” about a Vietnam war widow and the aforementioned New Mexico golf guy. Great descriptions are studded throughout, especially in those long sentences that typically open each story. I also liked the Columbine story –“One of Star Wars, One of Doom” maybe it was because it was not about a New Mexican golfer (although he of course was the narrative consciousness) but rather tried to create the life of a high school and come up with some idea of a motive for the massacre. Many of the stories have a UFO subtext, the mystery of a why a perfectly happy person, in a privileged position in their New Mexico golfing milieu, would risk it all with a tale of madness?

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