Born On A Train

Though there is no title story for Jon McManus' collection of thirteen stories that's actually called Born On A Train, it's a hell of a title. The stories make me see how much it matters that there are still writers out there who we can call badasses. The collection rides roughly on the edges of Americana, where people still say, "What in tarnation!?" They could make fun of its characters, peolpe living in the woods and RV parks of our nation, but the stories cut much more to the bluish-white bone of the characters than alot of today's writers, whose joyless flayings of ruralites stem from the straight-toothed academia from which they leer. In Earl of Credition, a family fills a truck cab and bed, rides to Kmart to return a pair of gunshot and bloodied pants, claims ties to English royalty, and eventually draws the line between the old America and our new, fluorescent nation. McManus' first collection, Stop Breakin' Down, was in a similar vein, but in Born On A Train, he takes more time populating his stories with fuller bodies, and rather than whizzbanging across our inner eyes, the scenes in his new collection pull us deftly into the landscapes we often drive by, and run us out of gas there.
Drew McNaughton

Scroll to Top