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The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece…

The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake

by Breece D'J Pancake

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Among the various collections of short stories I've read over the years, I'd have to put this one near the top.

Breece D'J Pancake was clearly a talented writer -- and one who cared deeply about his creations.

In all honesty, most of my reading of this collection occurred during subway commutes to and from work -- i.e., not the ideal circumstances, by any means, under which to read someone's sole opus. (The author committed suicide in his late 20's.) But we live in a world of a thousand momentary and pesky distractions. A good writer has to contend with each and every one of them.

My principal difficulty in reading Breece's stories had most to do with his dialect. He writes from the POV of his fellow West Virginians -- a disjointed folk who are easy neither on the eye nor on the ear. Couple that with the noise of a subway car, and quick 'n' easy understanding becomes elusive.

I would highly recommend this collection of stories to aspiring writers. Breece is truly a writer's writer. Would I recommend it to casual readers? Nope.

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
The stories here are beautifully drawn through clean, clear prose. I love his writing style, and that, really, is what kept me going, because the actually composition of the stories is quite lacking, in that each feels and acts like something work shopped and assembled from a bag of traditional leitmotifs and themes. None of the stories really elicit the fresh idiom or messy interpretation of life and the world that most stunning writers strive towards. Breece seemed content writing beautifully assembled stories that might as well all be told from the same guy about the same hillside.

There seems to be something missing. I don't know. Maybe it's that the voice and style of every story---hell, every sentence---seems cut from the same cloth, from the same larger sheet, with the same scissors.

There is a tremendous sensitivity here, and I believe he could have become a great writer if not for his suicide at age 26, but right now his stories are way too pre-packaged and airtight for my taste. ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-gm
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-gm ( )
  Saretta.L | Jul 29, 2013 |
A very beautiful and transporting writer, in which I can personally see some influence of Kerouac and Salinger, rather than the Hemingway described by Joyce Carol Oates. What a shame his life was ended so early, a shame for him, and a shame for us. The characters in Pancake's stories here remind me of the thin elongated people created by the sculptor, Giacometti. He once said that he was sculpting not the human figure but "the shadow that is cast" and this is exactly how I see Pancake's literary population. These sad filthy people are not the whole of them, just the image that we are left with when they disappear, almost like shadows burnt into a wall in a nuclear blast. The things that truly add color to these stories, and they absolutely fill them, are all of the normally unspoken-about birds, and foxes, and snakes, and owls, and wasps, and crawly things that surround us and add an essential stability to these otherwise futile lives.

Includes a wonderful Introduction and two worthwhile Afterwords in getting to know the personality of the author. ( )
  cjyurkanin | May 22, 2013 |
This was some slow going, because I couldn’t read more than one or two at a time. Really spare, beautiful but also harsh stuff -- you know how I said Tobias Wolff has so much affection for even his most difficult characters? Pancake has NO affection for his. Love, yes, and respect, but it’s of a very unblinking variety. The descriptions of the physical world -- nature, weather, work, fighting -- are really striking.

I wonder what I would have thought had I not known this was early work of someone who never had the chance to do more. Some of it feels rough in places, or rather... nascent, in a way. But beautifully worked, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that there won’t be more. ( )
  lisapeet | Mar 31, 2013 |
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I open the truck's door, step onto the brick side street.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316715972, Paperback)

Breece D'J Pancake cut short a promising career when he took his own life at the age twenty-six. Published posthumously, this is a collection of stories that depict the world of Pancake's native rural West Virginia.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:57 -0400)

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