2008-Apr-3 00:59The only display of civic pride evident in Donald Ray PollockТs first book is a blue tattoo Ч the words УKnockemstiff, OhioФ Ч etched Уlike a road signФ on the bony white backside of a crackhead named Sandy. And even thatТs suspect, since the tattoo seems less a proud-spirited nod to her hometown than a dog-tag-like reminder of where she needs to return, or be returned. Located 60-some miles south of Columbus, Knockemstiff, which derives its name from a long-ago fight between two women, is a ramshackle cluster of Уshotgun houses and rust-streaked trailersФ where the air is suffused with rotten-egg-scented smog from the local paper mill. Once there was a store, selling gasoline and DoanТs liver pills and smoke cigarettes and chain-saw oil, and also a tavern, HapТs, where the bartender dealt speed on the side. A baseball diamond, built by a Vista worker in the Т60s, then swiftly reclaimed by green briars, and also a church Ч but that too, as SandyТs boyfriend notes, Уhad fallen on hard times.Ф ItТs a mean little place, in PollockТs rendering, where the dominant occupation seems to be petty crime, where wife-beating louts drink Old Grand-Dad out of car ashtrays and where restless teenage boys spend their weekend nights throwing darts at the fat kid and compensating him with bong hits.
Leave a Comment
• 0 comments