Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Emily's Stitches by Leverett Butts--reviewed by Reb MacRath

Leverett Butts now runs and owns the town of Owen, Georgia--along with everyone in it. Emily's Stitches, the title piece in this stunning collection of stories and poems, accomplishes more in its 128 pages than most novels do in 300. It contains seven related stories, a Prologue, Interlude and Epilogue--brilliantly interwoven and adding up, Alacazam, to a real short novel. Subtitled The Confessions of Thomas Calloway, it combines the sexual coming of age theme with strongly sounded notes of madness, murder and mayhem, Southern-style. Other reviewers have noted echoes of Faulkner and Stephen King. Agreed. But I was also reminded in parts of Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger. At the same time, the narrative voice here is very much the author's own. And I greatly admired the artful, sometimes cunning, mixture of homespun dialect and subtle literary touches. This is a very tough trick to pull off but the author does: we're reminded that the narrator is a small town adolescent at the time of the story...but a grown and intelligent man as he writes.

No plot spoilers here. Read, enjoy and treasure the arrival of the new sheriff in Owen. The remaining eight stories/poems offer tantalizing evidence of the other aces this author has up his sleeve. I look forward to Leverett Butts' next book.