THE DEEPENING SHADE
An alcoholic cop, a Jesus freak, a pregnant homeless teenager, a stripper, a cop in debt to a gangster, and the manager of a fast food joint who is in the wrong place at the wrong time are all part of the rich and varied cast of characters in The Deepening Shade, Jake Hinkson’s superlative short story collection.
The writing is vivid, lyric and brutal. The stories are powerful and involving. The characters are human, all too human.
Every story in this collection is a gem but standouts for me were Makers And Coke, Night Terrors, The Serpent Box and Our Violence.
HELL ON CHURCH STREET
Paul is a troublemaker. A rough and ready kind of guy, he loses his job in a Mississippi plastics factory after getting into a fight with the Foreman.
I saw on the TV news, as they were reporting
From outside the burnt out Notre Dame
That it has stood there for 850 years.
All the way back to the 12th Century.
It really made me think, all of the changes
That have happened in that time, the cathedral
Stood there witnessing it all. If a building
Can be called a witness. Why not ?
From farmers on their horse and carts
To the horror that was Paris in the time
Of the black death. All of the way through the
Abattoir that was the French Revolution
When the streets ran red with blood
And the rats are better than any person.
Then two world wars and in 1940
When above Gay Paree flew the flag
Of a swastika. Then the terrorist atrocities
Of the last decade that have shown us
How the world and warfare has changed.
I don’t really care about the religious
Importance, and old cathedrals aren’t really
My thing. Just the fact that it’s been there
Whilst so many people perish, makes
Me feel something, even if I’m not sure what.