From My Bookshelf: Callan Wink
By Lynn Willoughby
This new author has been compared to Annie Proulx – one of my personal favourites. So when his book of short stories came out I was first in line, and it doesn’t disappoint.
While the various characters find themselves in situations that seem silly, are very often funny or are simply bizarre, their predicaments and conclusions are never contrived. For example – the naked construction worker running barefoot through the night with the dog he has stolen; Custer’s Last Stand re-enactments; the Mexicans working on Thanksgiving Day; the sixteen year old fishing with his grandfather on his last day of freedom before entering juvenile detention for two years; the woman who calls her two dogs, who are always together, Elton John. Are you intrigued yet?
The stories are primarily set in Montana. All of Wink’s characters are powerful well rounded and memorable. I find myself thinking of them and their situations long after finishing the book. As one reviewer says; “How is it that someone barely in his thirties can write such stories that are so infused with wisdom, sensitivity and grace?”
The recurring themes are the complicated relationships between father and son, husband and wife, freedom and individualism. Often these short stories reminded me of Glen Swarthout ‘s writing (Bless the Beasts and Children).
There is a freshness in this young author and I look forward to a full length novel from him. If the writing and the storytelling is anything like this one it will be memorable.