I’ve been something of a fan of Brad Barkley’s work since I heard him read at the Virginia Festival of the Book a couple of years ago. His novel, Alison’s Automotive Repair Manual, which he read from on that occasion, was terrific--funny as hell, but about real issues. So I was looking forward to hearing him at the Festival again this year when I saw him on the schedule but, unfortunately, he wasn’t able to come. His latest book was there, though, so I picked up Another Perfect Catastrophe, a 2004 collection of stories. The title story is fantastic, about a 35 year old who is still hanging out with his best high school buddy, despite being in love with a gorgeous young woman. The buddy is something of a sculptor and each piece is entitled “Perfect Catastrophe,” so that the piece he is working on at any given moment is always “Another Perfect Catastrophe.”
The final story in the collection is also terrific. Beneath the Deep, Slow Motion previously appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review.