As I mentioned, our old pal Evan has written another ebook, Triplebock. So far, he has given us perhaps more sorts of writing than any other of voice in good beer. Because he is, you see, a pretty busy writer and, perhaps, a more diverse writer that most others as his bio Amazon.com reveals:
Evan Rail is the author of two Kindle Singles, Why Beer Matters and In Praise of Hangovers, and a contributor on food and travel to The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, and Imbibe, among other publications. His writing has been included in numerous anthologies, including The New York Times Book of Wine, Best Food Writing and Travelers' Tales, and his poems have appeared in The New Republic, Poetry Review, and The Times Literary Supplement. He lives in Prague.
The Times Literary Supplement? Me, I once got a poem about crows in the school board's anthology for young teens. Thirty-six years ago. I've reviewed his 2007 Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic and last year's essay "Why Beer Matters" but never a poem. Not a story. I am not sure how to review a story come to think of it. So much for that BA in English. So much for the dreams of those junior high school board writing contest officials.
Yet, I will try. I bought this via Kindle - or rather had the Kindle user do it for me. I asked her after getting the heads up from Evan that it was sitting out there on the internets for, let's be honest, car seat change. Then, for the first time, I slumped on the sofa with a Kindle. I read two of the three stories, "The Grain Men" and "An All-Beer Diet," as the Yankees lost to the Sox played out on AM radio. A good way to spend a couple of hours on an Easter Monday afternoon.
I don't think it's right for me to give a plot summary given there's three short stories. But the plots are not actually what I found most interesting this afternoon. It was how Evan writes about good beer quite directly in each story yet more of his important stuff was in the effect the beer had on characters and, maybe even more interesting, how the beer and maybe the characters are ultimately not the point, not the thing you are ultimately left with. Externals which are not extraneous end up governing where things end up. The writing is tight. I actually looked for a few things that were absent like descriptions of surroundings or back stories but then I remembered this wasn't a novel, an essay or even a poem. Short stories are arguably more about economy and scale than any other form of writing. I went back and read "The Grain Men" again rather than rushing to the third story.
You can read a selection of the "The Grain Men" at Amazon but why bother? If I have failed to convince you, well, it's because I suck as a literary reviewer. I don't recall wondering if I should buy a four track cassette in the early 90s. Or whether or not buying that bumper sticker was wise. This is like that. Quibble, guilt and paper free reading.