Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Meet Me In the Parking Lot": Stories by Alexandra Leggard

Flannery O'Connor, Russell Banks and Jersey Kozinzky meet for coffee, hash browns and small talk about psychic exile and the best sort of knife edge to hack through a bothersome bit of bone. Odd, disturbing, violent material here--violence either explicit or always at the edge of the crystallized situations here--all of which are made more jarring with Alexandra Leggat's taste for terse sentences and abrupt endings. It works, for the most part, and the arc through the stories, life inside cars, on dark streets, side roads, parking lots behind anonymous bars, presents us with any number of dazed, abused and high strung women and rattled, crazed, raging men enacting any number of strange movements and quirks. At best, these stories are an adrenaline jolt, speaking truly to the sort of flash that gives one the urge to leap in front of traffic, to challenge immensity of grave and incalculable danger. Fans of Joyce Carole Oates take note , as Leggat seems a likely and artful heir to her position as chronicler of the Imperiled Woman.