Today's book was chosen first for its title. I thought it might be some kind of coming-of-age novel set at summer camp or an East Coast boarding school.
Upon close inspection of the cover, I see it's a collection of short stories. Dead Boys (Little, Brown, 256 pages, $21.99) is Richard Lange's debut, and it has garnered an impressive list of cover blurbs. Here are but a few ...
George Pelicanos says, "Funny, tough, and tragic, with earned humanity, street style, and a shooter's eye for detail."
Michael Connelly: "Richard Lange breathes new life into the mythology of Los Angeles."
Alice Sebold: "Lange's stories are knockouts."
T.C. Boyle says, "Richard Lang'e stories combine the truth-telling and immediacy of Raymond Carver with the casual hip of Denis Johnson."
I have to agree with Boyle. I skipped around the book reading a few of the stories and the first thing that came to mind when I began reading "Blind-Made Products" was, "This guy could be a Raymond Carver character." The narrator is roped into helping his friend move his girlfriend to a new apartment and all the while he's preoccupied with thoughts of a blind woman he used to date. "She was the most beautiful girl I'd ever been with, but since she couldn't see me, I wasn't sure if it counted."
The stale stagnation that lingers on in many of Carver's stories permeates Lange's stories as well. And the lingering sense of regret casts a pall as wide as a layer of smog over Los Angeles, where Lange's stories (and many of Carver's) take place.
Not for everyone, but definitely good stuff.