Off the Beaten Path Part II

7 Jul

The Wagon and Other Stories from the City (University of Chicago Press) may be the oddest (most odd?) book, by way of subject matter, I have come across in some undetermined time span. Its author, Maetin Preib, is a writer who is, additionally, a Chicago policeman. The wagon of the title refers to Preib’s first assignment as a cop: driving a “paddy” wagon around Chicago picking uo dead bodies and delivering them to the morgue.

Esteemed Chicago writer Stuart Dybek extols,

blockquote>From its aptly noirish title on, Martin Preib’s The Wagon has rightness of authenticity about it. From the perspective of a cop he fashions a compelling view of the Chicago Algren once called ‘the dark city.’ There’s a unique quality to his essays which manage to be broodingly meditative even as their narrative drive keeps you turning pages.

Jon Yardley offers this laudation”

Preib’s is a voice that has almost never been heard in American writing: not merely the voice of an ordinary policeman, which is rare enough, but the voice of someone whose working life has been spent in the service industry. . . . For [Preib], ‘there is a kind of faith that lingers in realism, a belief that knowing the city will lead somewhere beyond the city.’ He has justified and realized that faith in The Wagon, a quite remarkable book that is much larger than its slender dimensions.

Preib talks about the Wagon on Book TV.

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One Response to “Off the Beaten Path Part II”

  1. spinoza1111 July 12, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    A lotta strange stories come from any city, such as The Train to LoWu: it is a series of stories about people in Hong Kong and, across the border, in the “special economic zone” of Shenzen, which was a fishing village in 1979.

    I will link to your blog from mine.

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