Review: You and Me and the Devil Makes Three - Esquire's Fiction for Men, Volume One

By John Neal,
Author Rating: 
3.0 Stars - It's Good

Every so often we hear that the American short story is dead. Magazines accept fewer and fewer works, and even then the ones that publish short stories - The New Yorker, Playboy, etc - want a big name to go under the title. Yet I assure you the American short story is not dead nor dying. We may no longer have Charles Bukowski or John Cheever to regale us with pieces of Americana, but there is a whole sea of young writers ready to step up to bat.

You and Me and the Devil Makes Three - Esquire's Fiction for Men, Volume One is a brief collection of short fiction by three rising stars in American literature. As the name Esquire and the title implies, the stories contained within are geared toward a male audience. The stories exhibit gritty realism with themes that tackle morality, immortality and courage. They are themes not necessarily exclusive to men, but they are ones that frequently appeal most to me when reading.

In Aaron Gwyn's title piece, a young man succumbs to weakness and accompanies a friend and a drug dealer on a trip that turns deadly.

Jess Walter's "Big Man" was my favorite piece of the pie. A recreational basketball league serves as the backdrop for a man coming up on middle age who suffers a variety of personal crises.

Alberto Urrea's "Young Man Blues" follows a young man as he deals with life's aftershocks after his father - a member of a motorcycle gang - is sent to prison.

The collection will be available in the electronic book format. For less than $3, it's a fine way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon.

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