Staff Picks by George Singleton
It’s Father’s Day 1972 and a young boy’s dad takes him to visit a string of unimpressive ex-girlfriends that could have been his mother; the unconventional detective work of a koan-speaking, Kung Fu–loving uncle solves a case of arson during a pancake breakfast; and a former geology professor, recovering from addiction, finds himself sharing a taxicab with specters from a Jim Crow–era lynching. Set in and around the fictional town of Steepleburg, South Carolina, the loosely tied stories in George Singleton’s Staff Picks place sympathetic, oddball characters in absurd, borderline surreal situations that slowly reveal the angst of southern history with humor and bite.
In the tradition of Donald Barthelme, T. C. Boyle, Flannery O’Connor, and Raymond Carver, Singleton creates lingering, darkly comedic tales by drawing from those places where familiarity and alienation coexist. A remarkable and distinct effort from an acclaimed chronicler of the South, Staff Picks reaffirms Singleton’s gift for crafting short story collections that both deliver individual gems and shine as a whole.