Michael Parker, "The Golden Era of Heartbreak"

After losing the love of his life, a man’s downward spiral puts him in touch with some bad people.

(from The O. Henry Prize Stories, 2005)

An excellent story, prone to tangents, laced with humor and unpredictable. Moody. Awesome. This story had a little bit of the loneliness of The Silver Jews and the too-far-gone-to-care attitude of The Hold Steady.
Here, I’ll type the opening paragraph for you:
After she left, the town where we lived grew flat as an envelope. Sound carried: the song of a truck driver showering five miles east. Nothing could block his dirge. Long-distance misery leaking across the fields while he scrubbed away the road grime. He, too, had come home to a to drawer cleared of underwear.
(I tried to find you that paragraph, so I wouldn’t have to type it, by Googling the phrase “truck driver showering. Two hits. Looks like I’m the third. Yay.)

I bought this collection at The Book Trader. Used, of course. The inside cover contains the following list:
Call P.S. (?)
Collect taxes info.
(for Friday)
Sympathy Card B. Day Card for Joy
Wedding Card
—need to Always
deal Always
w/ S.L.’s Always
+ Transcripts!

There was also a recipt inside saying the book had been purchased for $15.98 from City Lights Books (a “literary meeting place since 1953″ in San Francisco). I bought it used for $8.50 or so. Sucker. Kidding. Thanks for passing it along. Good luck with the S.L.’s.

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