Ray is a Tuscaloosa-based ex-Vietnam fighter pilot turned alcoholic doctor of Barry Hannah’s creation. Hannah’s writing is so creative that in the early pages of this short novel you will wonder if you are wasting your time. I’s a legit question, but if you choose to stick it out, you do become accustomed to Hannah’s rhythms and Ray’s nuggets of wisdom. Little snippets of an uneven home life, his well detailed foot fetish, Civil War flashbacks, vigilantism, womanizing and the envy of a redneck neighbor’s gift of poetry. The story bounces, but has its rewards.
For example, after losing the love of his life, and amidst the deterioration of his current relationship, Ray takes a moment to think back about the picture perfect life early on with his first wife…his perfect children and friendly neighbors and thinks “What a release, to look into the past that way I just tried. A petrified log just rolled off my heart.” There are better ones to quote, but again, I neglected to underline.
As there is an equal chance you will hate Ray, this isn’t a pound the table buy. Accumulate.