If I had a shelf talker, this is what I'd say about "Praying Drunk"
Praying Drunk caught me by surprise. Conventional wisdom about any collection of short stories dictates that the book in your hands is going to be a browser's paradise. You'll skip along through the stories and find one or two that knock you out, and the rest will be of varying power. But not Praying Drunk – I found the entire book to be of knockout strength. You're warned up front:
Clue 1: The subtitle of the book is "stories, questions".
Clue 2: There's a warning box ahead of the Table of Contents that tells you the stories are meant to be read in order - it's a book, not just a collection. And in all caps: "DON'T SKIP AROUND."
There are 10 stories in Praying Drunk, and two Q&As, apparently between the author and the authorial voice.
Ideas and fragments of stories and characters recur and recombine. A fantastical set-up in one story, a futuristic backwoods tragedy, comes back later in the book, retold in the present with gravity and grace. It includes my favorite line in the book:
"The sweet life," the preacher said. "Is made of bitter parts."
by Kyle Minor
Sarabande Books / Consortium | 9781936747634 | $15.95 | Feb 2014
Praying Drunk was reviewed in Publishers Weekly: "...the result is an often dazzling, emotional, funny, captivating puzzle"