Where the time goes
Three previous works, including the popular P-town Stories (or the meatrack) (1980), established R. D. Skillings as "a strong, vital writer, attempting to expand the territory of an infinitely malleable form" (Publishers Weekly). His compact brevity, stark lyricism of the spoken word, and urgent monologues of inner lives recall intense bar-talk or tableaux glimpsed in teeming streets.From a writer with a cult following, a new book after a long silence constitutes an important event. These stories build upon P-town Stories, once again displaying a variety of incidents and voices: aging artists and writers warily eyeing the next generation, locals rubbed wrong by the summer influx of urbane strangers, a Portuguese native extolling a recipe for hot dog stew, a feisty mother bemused by the p.c. wars, inveterate hedonists of every stripe, diehard fishermen, mavericks, jacks-of-all-trades exiled by high rents, the overarching catastrophe of AIDS.
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