Thursday, October 08, 2009

What is Don Waters reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Don Waters, author of the award-winning story collection, Desert Gothic.

His entry begins:
The Night of the Gun, by David Carr

I recently spent time in a small town on the coast of Oregon, where my girlfriend and I were working on various writing projects. There was a library in town, just a two-room building, run by an all-volunteer group of dedicated people. I went there a lot. Not much to do in that town; plus, I love tiny libraries.

The Night of the Gun, a memoir by David Carr, was on the library’s shelves. Each time I walked through the door, the rolled up dollar bill on the book’s cover, resembling the barrel of a gun, seemed to be pointing at me. I finally checked it out, not knowing what to expect. What I read jolted and fascinated and, by the book’s end, amazed me.

Carr’s memoir tells of his journey – and it is a journey – out of cocaine and alcohol addiction to responsible parent and journalist with The New York Times. If you really think about that, that’s some transformation. Beyond the book’s sensational selling points—cocaine bum turned loving father—Carr’s memoir is an exploration of truth and memory. No one ever has the same memory of the same event. Carr illustrates this by turning his life’s story into reportage. He reports from front lines of old battlegrounds, returning to past haunts to interview friends and family. Out of this he achieves partial...[read on]
Don Waters' story collection, Desert Gothic, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Stories from the collection have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize XXXIII and Best of the West 2009. He's the recipient of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award (in fiction) and a Lannan Foundation writing fellowship, as well as other honors.

Among the praise for Desert Gothic:
"Don Waters locates the decency in the undersung. He does a brilliant job of showing the small heroic acts that reverberate in the lives of his characters and in the mind of a reader."
—Amy Hempel, author, The Collected Stories

"Desert Gothic is a brilliant book."
—Ben Fountain, author, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara
Waters' essays and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, The Believer, High Country News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times Book Review.

Visit Don Waters' website.

Writers Read: Don Waters.

--Marshal Zeringue