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.

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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