Monday, April 4, 2011

HAYWIRE: a review

Having grown up in northeastern Pennsylvania, in a time before "bullying" had become a hot topic for TV talk show hosts, I can relate to the plight of the narrator of Thaddeus Rutkowski's latest novel HAYWIRE. Back then to be different: shorter, smarter, reads books, makes art, and doesn't play sports, was a good reason to be beaten up, or have your head split with a rock. Rutkowski's hero has all of the above, plus he is biracial The boy grows up, despite a repressive father, and gets on with his life in this witty and sometimes sad novel.

Written in a deadpan manner, the reader is pulled along at a fast pace. Alison Lurie has called Rutkowski, "one of the most original writers in America today. Author Ned Vizzini says: "HAYWIRE aims high and succeeds brilliantly. Fine writing and hilarity were to be expected -- what surprises is the underlying message of hope in a unforgiving world."

At times giddy and slightly surrealistic, HAYWIRE is highly moralistic, providing us with a look at the recent past, while posing questions about the future. This can clearly be seen in the books last paragraph: On my way up the mountain, I find that the slope is not only steep, it's vertical. There's a steel ladder I can hold on to, but even when I'm holding on, I'm afraid of falling. I look for a place to rest, a flat area where I can get off the ladder. But I don't see any ledges wide enough to stand on. Moving sideways would lead to empty air. So I keep climbing.

Highly Recommended
~Sidney Grayling

HAYWIRE Thaddeus Rutkowski Starcherone Books, Buffalo, NY, ISBN 978-0-9842133-1-3 298 pages, USD $18.00

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