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.