I know I’m really enjoying a book when I start reading it aloud to my cat. Such was the case with the much anticipated new novel from Glen Hirshberg, The Book of Bunk. Hirshberg is a tremendous story teller—even when the man tells stories during his speaking engagements, the audience hangs on his words—and this book showcases his story-telling prowess in its most favorable light to date.
I don’t usually use my blog to promote the work of others. Heck, I hardly use it to promote my own work, except for a mention now and again. But this book has not been printed by one of The Big Five fancy schmancy publishers. It was done by a small press, and I’m all about small presses and print-on-demand these days. Besides all that, this is a damn fine book. Trust me. I read a lot of books as a Vine Voice reviewer for Amazon. Most of the stuff being offered to readers by The Big Five is not literary—it’s “mar-ket-a-ble”—schmaltzy or gimmicky or depraved, but not well written or well edited. Actually, it’s not edited at all.
The Book of Bunk takes place in the 1930’s (already I love it—my favorite decade) and concerns one Paul Dent, a young man who leaves impoverished Oklahoma during the Depression (the other one) and ends up in Trampleton, North Carolina, working for the government as a writer with the federal writers’ project.
That’s all I’m going to tell you. No really, I can’t give any more away. This book is magical and surreal and very real but fantastical. I think this is why I love Hirshberg’s writing so much. He leads his reader down a path that looks at first as if it winds through a pleasant garden. With a couple of turns, you find yourself in a dense forest, jogging to keep up but slowing down to take in the dark beauty that surrounds you. This is how I felt when I read Hirshberg’s previous novel, The Snowman’s Children, and the experience was renewed in reading The Book of Bunk.
I have placed an Amazon link to Bunk on this page in case you want to give in to that temptation to click on the “Buy it now with one click!” button. For more of me going on and on about Hirshberg’s work, there’s a review posted there as well. Here's the link to Amazon:The Book of Bunk: A Fairy Tale of the Federal Writers' Project
Or to order from the publisher directly (and get more information about what you're getting):