Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review - Modern Ranch Living

Writers write; that’s what the screen saver on my computer says, it keeps me honest. But to write you have to read. I chew through a fair number of books mainly because I just love to read but also to take a peek in the kitchen and see how other guys cook the stew. So now and again I’ll let you know about the ones that floated my boat (or torpedoed it).

Mark Poirier writes about the loners, losers and drifters that hover on the fringes of American society; detached but not quite removed from the lives most of us lead.
He does it with a wonderful laid back and languid style that’s rarely pulsating but rolls along at the easy pace dictated by the heat of an Arizona Summer.

Modern Ranch living lifts the lid on the disparate and bizarre inhabitants of a small community on the outskirts of Tucson Arizona.
The story follows them through one long hot desert summer and centres on the disappearance of a local teenage stoner. Though the narrative rarely gets much past second gear the characters are well drawn and immediately engaging. Kendra the sixteen year old body builder and her dazed brother Thomas; Merv the thirty something pool attendant still living at home with his slightly unhinged mother. Their stories run in parallel, slowly draw together and take you along on a gentle ride through the weirdness of the mundane.

This is no raging page turner, if you want to see the hard ragged edges of America's underbelly at a pace to make your eyes water, then look elsewhere.
Instead Poirier takes a peek behind the drapes of American suburbia and examines the damaged goods he finds there with a wry humor and no mean talent.

 You could do a lot worse than spending a week or so in his company.