S. McClanahan, Stories. Pittsburgh: Six Gallery Press, 2009. Fiction. 146 pages. ISBN: 978-0981009124.
Scott McClanahan is one of the most refreshing writers of fiction I've read in a long time. I love his debut collection, STORIES, which revives the pleasures of the age-old art of storytelling. McClanahan's narrator is funny and profane, at least a little bit self-depricating but somehow always compassionate to his subjects. As a writer, McClanahan is smart and hilarious, evoking layers of pathos from the twists and turns his stories and narration take. His tales revisit familiar Appalachian characters, small-town disasters, and gothic themes that Flannery O'Connor, Breece D'J Pancake, or Tom Waits could love (lost limbs, jailtime, disfigured strippers, hit-and-runs, the small-town down-and-out), but the tone of the narrator makes them something I've never heard before, immediate and contemporary. With many more stories up his sleeve, McClanahan is going places. Highly recommended for collections of: contemporary fiction, short stories, young authors of fiction, Appalachian fiction, small press fiction, first-person fiction, rural fiction, or West Virginia fiction.