By Frederick Barrows
Lone Argonaut, $21.99, 211 pages
Barrows’ debut collection is a haunting account of the beaten and abused, the violent and the victimized. In the story “Golden Buddha Thoroughfare” Barrows writes, “Stepping off the city bus, Jimmy Breedlove saw blood.” This sentence sums up the collection: blood pervades Barrow’s style. Each story is its own mythos of redemption through destruction. Whether whores are cut up in cheap motels or evil corporations turn to butchery and murder in order to maintain their profit margin, this collection delves into the nitty-gritty of life, challenging the illusion that we can all win, that everything happens for a reason and that the reason is an inherently good one. Barrows’ work delves deep into the discontent of those of us who were promised the sky but end up wallowing in the mud.
Reviewed by Grant Miller