Tell It Quickby Nicolle Elizabeth
(Holler Presents, 2012)
Unapologetic, relentless, empathetic, hard-working, Holler Presents is headed up by fiction writer Scott McClanahan. And his camp touts some of the more quick-witted yet simultaneously tenderhearted small-press writers in the business.
A new addition to the Holler catalogue is Brian Carr. His new novella Vampire Conditions, told in flash fiction chapters, calls to mind early Christopher Coake, and compressed and poetic fictions of Denis Johnson. The work hits hard, and those looking for a fast-paced read will find refuge in this unsparing work.
Here’s a representative bit from the section called Boys Town 2:
Those ladies have diseases. We sat drinking in the dingy room. If you were there in the daytime you’d most likely convulse. Christ, those are vampire conditions. Music from untuned guitars. We drank Coronitas. Bottled seven-ounce beers. We wanted to see if we could fit an empty inside a hooker. We had five dollars. She rolled her eyes like we’d annoyed her. She put a leg on the table and raised her skirt to her belly. “What are you waiting for?” she asked. A small crowd gathered around us. We weren’t the only ones curious. There were sounds but no words for them. Whatever I saw was sort of erased from my eyes. Anyhow, I’d rather not dwell on the details. The best I can say is: it’s snug, but it goes.
Carr comes to the table with a profound understanding of the subversions young men carry, as well as of the world around them, frankly and explicitly creating a compelling narrative, one that unfolds organically toward moments of plain-stated big talk. It’s a book for those concerned with getting to the quick of it.