web site hit counter Short Bus - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Short Bus

Availability: Ready to download

Short Bus is a darkly humorous collection of linked stories set in the southern haunts of coastal Texas--near where the Rio Grande dumps its brackish water into the Gulf of Mexico. The stories in this book ponder deformity in all its forms. Fetuses twist their mustaches, feet float in jars, a special- education teacher aims to rob a bank with the aid of his students. But b Short Bus is a darkly humorous collection of linked stories set in the southern haunts of coastal Texas--near where the Rio Grande dumps its brackish water into the Gulf of Mexico. The stories in this book ponder deformity in all its forms. Fetuses twist their mustaches, feet float in jars, a special- education teacher aims to rob a bank with the aid of his students. But binding these stories is a gentle humanity. Brian Allen Carr moves his grotesque characters toward the hollows of hearts, heaving despicable actions toward tender outcomes. Short Bus is a book about understanding the worst of us, smiling at that which makes us shudder. --Shane Jones (author of Light Boxes)


Compare

Short Bus is a darkly humorous collection of linked stories set in the southern haunts of coastal Texas--near where the Rio Grande dumps its brackish water into the Gulf of Mexico. The stories in this book ponder deformity in all its forms. Fetuses twist their mustaches, feet float in jars, a special- education teacher aims to rob a bank with the aid of his students. But b Short Bus is a darkly humorous collection of linked stories set in the southern haunts of coastal Texas--near where the Rio Grande dumps its brackish water into the Gulf of Mexico. The stories in this book ponder deformity in all its forms. Fetuses twist their mustaches, feet float in jars, a special- education teacher aims to rob a bank with the aid of his students. But binding these stories is a gentle humanity. Brian Allen Carr moves his grotesque characters toward the hollows of hearts, heaving despicable actions toward tender outcomes. Short Bus is a book about understanding the worst of us, smiling at that which makes us shudder. --Shane Jones (author of Light Boxes)

30 review for Short Bus

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard Thomas

    [This review was originally published at The Nervous Breakdown.] When you wander around the desert looking for trouble, searching for an escape, sometimes you find it. In Brian Allen Carr’s powerful collection of short fiction, Short Bus, characters drift through small towns in Texas and Mexico, engulfing these border stories as if huffing paint: Lost, disoriented, with questionable motivations and histories. Carr is able to weave into these adventures the heartbreak, the buried love and intimacy [This review was originally published at The Nervous Breakdown.] When you wander around the desert looking for trouble, searching for an escape, sometimes you find it. In Brian Allen Carr’s powerful collection of short fiction, Short Bus, characters drift through small towns in Texas and Mexico, engulfing these border stories as if huffing paint: Lost, disoriented, with questionable motivations and histories. Carr is able to weave into these adventures the heartbreak, the buried love and intimacy that is sought in the shadows, and then to leave us laughing, shaking our head, and wincing at the pain and suffering we have witnessed, wishing somehow that we could undo it. A boy loses his hand and his father contemplates drowning him. A younger brother considers setting his face on fire in order to gain the sympathy and attention that his older brother gets. A husband questions his pregnant wife’s faithfulness, drawing tiny moustaches on the x-rays of the fetus. It all unfolds under the stifling sun, shadows cast in every direction. Carr creates vivid landscapes that are dotted with sharp details, every rotten board and rusty nail a sign of something more, something larger—the loss and exhaustion of a people that have given up rippling on the surface. From “Over the Border”: “Whores. Oh, the whores. Their bodies beaten, drained like used batteries, so their forms held, but something in the eyes, a vacuous swallow of light rather than a twinkle, and a looseness of skin, so their bones seemed far away even as you stood beside them and eyes their smiles. They leaned in doorways to rooms that opened to the street, on either side, and the sun dipped toward an orange colored west, and a graying east, so the rooms, their pale light spilling, like twin strands of dirty Christmas lights pulled tight across a bed of dust.” Carr’s characters are not whole and they are not framed here on their best days. No, they are spinning out of control, addicted and fractured, skittering about looking for a safe place to land, to nod off and rest. In “Whisper to Scar” we get a sense of the kind of mothers you’ll find in this collection: “His mother didn’t find him for hours. She was probably out with her boyfriend. Huffing paint. Snorting meth. Videotaping sex in some basement. She’s like that. A small town fiend. Shoulders that scrape up through her flesh. Gums receding. Pimples. Tattoos. Stringy unwashed hair and cigarette breath. This was back when things were good for her. This was back when she saw still a waitress at Waffle House.” When working at the Waffle House is the pinnacle of your career, things are probably not going that well. Rooted in lives that spin out of control, that have gone off the tracks never to get back on again, is the suspicion that things didn’t have to be like this, that life wasn’t always so difficult. There were good times, once, and maybe they can be found again. There is a memory of civility, of meals eaten while sitting around the table, conversations that didn’t end with a fork embedded in somebody’s forearm. Life used to be normal and happy. But it didn’t stay that way. From “Hot Mess”: “My father used to ask at the dinner table if we needed water. ‘Water?’ he’d say and pass the rolls. ‘Ice water?’ Then send the greens. ‘Cold water?’ And the butter would go clockwise. ‘Need water?’ Bread across the table. My father set my brother’s face on fire.” And this: “My mother smoked three packs a day until the day of her diagnosis. In every old picture of her there’s a cigarette between her lips, or she’s reaching for an ashtray. She smoked so much that the walls in the house turned from yellow to green. So much my elementary teachers asked me if I smoked, because the stench followed me on my clothes wherever I’d go. In all my memories smoke pours from her smile. I used to think my mother made the clouds.” There is a sweetness buried in here, a nostalgia. Carr’s characters are not all damaged beyond repair, without any redeeming value or flickering hope for better days. In fact, in the title story, “Short Bus”, we follow a teacher with a questionable history who is lured into the life of the handicapped children he teaches. He is softened by Marisol—an essentially catatonic girl—who spends her days in a wheelchair, eyes darting about, drool dribbling down her chin. But people are drawn to her—they whisper their secrets in her ear, and in a moment of great charity, the protagonist hires a cellist to play for Marisol, and the musician is honored by her simple beauty, the way the music seems to be meant for only her. And this collection is not without humor either. When the aforementioned teacher takes his ragtag classroom of special needs students on a mission to rob a bank in order to keep Marisol from being kicked out of their school, , things get out of hand quickly. Tthe dialog and breakdown of the mission is a slow build-up to the inevitable failure, the break-dancing Pappi pointing his fingers like guns as he gets his groove on, the muscled assistant, Rocky, slowly morphing into The Rock, . It is a pair of scissors ultimately that ultimately dooming dooms the noble crime in progress, forcing our hero to regroup and reconsider. What Brian Allen Carr has done with this collection of short stories is create a world where betrayal and lies are only the beginning of relationships, distorting expectations but not erasing all hope. In Short Bus we are treated to a number of tragedies and dysfunctional relationships, the sun beating down on us as we search for water and relief, as we laugh at moments with our hands over our mouths and hope for outcomes that are nearly impossible. Somewhere in the lush, hypnotic prose and campfire tales of urban legends there is a heart beating, urging us on, the solutions to all our problems waiting for us just over the distant horizon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I knew from seeing his stories in journals that Brian Allen Carr was a talented young writer, but seeing so many of his stories between two covers convinced me that Carr is certainly one of the writers to watch in the next few years. He has not only a compelling subject--the world that is the Texas/Mexico border and those who occupy both sides--he has both a real command with stories of the sudden variety and with a longer or perhaps wider treatment. Also, and I can't stress this enough, he has I knew from seeing his stories in journals that Brian Allen Carr was a talented young writer, but seeing so many of his stories between two covers convinced me that Carr is certainly one of the writers to watch in the next few years. He has not only a compelling subject--the world that is the Texas/Mexico border and those who occupy both sides--he has both a real command with stories of the sudden variety and with a longer or perhaps wider treatment. Also, and I can't stress this enough, he has more or less created a voice unlike any I've heard in some time. It's Texan, in its deliberate flatness and spare beauty, and it's very lyrical without affect. I'm reminded of no one when I read Brian Carr, except Brian Carr. A true original, in my view. And where many times we read a collection of stories, we say we'd like to see that writer try a novel. I'll read any book that Brian Carr writes, but I hope he keeps fashioning stories like the ones in Short Bus, and keeps astonishing me with his range of talents.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mel Bosworth

    Short story collections are like tackle boxes, and as readers we’re like big, literate fish. But we’re fish who’ve grown arms and legs and we live on land now. However, unlike our aquatic friends, we want to be caught, and that’s what we’re looking for when we’re slapping around in the tackle box—we want a sharp, exciting ride. A good tackle box will have all sorts of lures: simple hooks, jiggly, fake worms, maybe some fancy flies, or even a bit of Strike King™ Pro-Model stuff. And as we’re rocki Short story collections are like tackle boxes, and as readers we’re like big, literate fish. But we’re fish who’ve grown arms and legs and we live on land now. However, unlike our aquatic friends, we want to be caught, and that’s what we’re looking for when we’re slapping around in the tackle box—we want a sharp, exciting ride. A good tackle box will have all sorts of lures: simple hooks, jiggly, fake worms, maybe some fancy flies, or even a bit of Strike King™ Pro-Model stuff. And as we’re rocking in our chairs, our eyes wide and our jaws slack, we’re hoping for that sharp surprise to tear through our cheeks and reel us flopping across the carpet. Luckily for us, the tackle box that is Brian Allen Carr’s debut collection Short Bus is loaded with material that’ll snag hard on our throats, cheeks, foreheads—hell, even our fingers. Sometimes all it takes is a simple graze and we’re tight on the wire. In the opening story Running the Drain, Carr wastes no time in snapping his pole back, setting a dark, pounding, addictive tone deep into our jowls. pg. 1: “I’ll check the police report in the morning from Mexico. I’ll slip across the border at Reynosa. I’ll buy a cheap, rusted car and a pistol and drive south. I’ll get a room in the mountains. I’ll walk through the pines and kick the fallen needles. I’ll be free.” Carr writes with a clarity that is both elegant and brutal. When you employ short, declarative sentences, there isn’t any room for shadowplay; everything is honest, bared. His characters live by these same rules, flexing their weaknesses, confiding their often dark desires. Whisper to Scar, pg. 38: “I thought how easy it would be. Like an accident. Him falling into the water, then splashing around in circles as his left hand pulled across the surface and his nub pierced though clean. I reeled up the slack in my line. I set my pole in a holster. “Hey, Timmy,” I said. “Yes, Daddy.” “That life jacket don’t look too comfortable on you,” I said. “Why don’t you hand it here.”” By and large the characters in this collection are broken by time and circumstance, some by birth, and they slink and limp along the Texas/Mexico border in search of simple moments in which they can seize at least a sense of the control they’ve relinquished somewhere along the way. They are recognizable strangers, each and every one of them. While the doses of darkness and damage come fast and often in this collection, there are stories that succeed in lightening the mood, so to speak. And after having my face smashed into the surf behind a speeding boat for several pages—but delightfully so, mind you—I’m always happy to hear the gears downshift and feel the fun bubbles rush over my body. The story that best embodies this shift is the titular Short Bus, a first person account of the adventures that come with teaching a special education class. It’s funny, honest, sad, and, in my opinion, it’s the best balanced piece in the collection. It’s also one of the longer stories, and it’s the one whose end saddened me the most because I didn’t want it to stop. You hear me, Carr? You’ve got a novel waiting for you in that story. Or at least a healthy novella. pg. 41: “Pappi likes to pop-lock, which is funny to watch because he’s retarded and he’s got no neck. He likes to dance, and he likes rap music. That morning he held his fingers out as though barrels of guns. He wagged his thumbs like crashing hammers. He did this in time with the beats blasting from the speakers. He wiggled his body and it looked like an off center gumdrop ready to fall. Everybody loves him.” The strengths of Carr’s writing are many, notably his attention to detail, his wonderfully crafted characters and settings (you can taste blood and dust in many of these stories), and my personal favorite—his ability to surprise, regardless of a story’s content. Whether following friends on a trip to Mexico, looking over the shoulders of two hit men, or feeling the pressure of a young boy growing up beneath a sick mother and a hardened older brother, we never know what’s coming around the corner, or what that shiny thing is that’s twirling through the water. Carr’s Short Bus will leave you punctured, dripping, and smiling. I highly recommend this collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matti Paasio

    I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE OF LITERATURE (AND IT DIDN'T MAKE MY STOMACH TURN) What separates Brian Allen Carr from most short story writers that I have read is his ability to convey a distinct feeling - a vision, if you like - in every one of his stories. Even the shortest of the pieces in this collection leave a trace - or, to quote the man himself, a slug trail - in the reader, and he or she isn't quite the same after the experience. If you are looking for vignettes, do not pick up this book: none can I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE OF LITERATURE (AND IT DIDN'T MAKE MY STOMACH TURN) What separates Brian Allen Carr from most short story writers that I have read is his ability to convey a distinct feeling - a vision, if you like - in every one of his stories. Even the shortest of the pieces in this collection leave a trace - or, to quote the man himself, a slug trail - in the reader, and he or she isn't quite the same after the experience. If you are looking for vignettes, do not pick up this book: none can be found here. And that is true, even more so, concerning Carr's masterpiece, his best book thus far, Vampire Conditions. No fiction writer coming after Roberto Bolaño and Yuri Andrukhovych has made a similar impression on me as Brian Allen Carr. Hell, he makes me even believe that literature might have some kind of a future ahead, waiting for the one who'll come and make it happen. PS. I translated "Whisper to Scar" into Finnish, but nobody seems to be interested, which proves, once again, that my country is filled with idiots. Or maybe it was the translation that sucked.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gabe Durham

    First off--A Book of Stories? Come on!!! I hoped some of the stories would basically be jokes I could tell my friends, but I checked and none of them were. So AT LEAST there would be some good pictures, right? Maybe even some sexy photographs of fictional women? I checked EVERY PAGE of this book and there were none of them. So what is SHORT BUS full of? Just a bunch of fancy Texas words from a man who wrote them. They say everything is bigger in Texas, so how come I am only giving this bus book First off--A Book of Stories? Come on!!! I hoped some of the stories would basically be jokes I could tell my friends, but I checked and none of them were. So AT LEAST there would be some good pictures, right? Maybe even some sexy photographs of fictional women? I checked EVERY PAGE of this book and there were none of them. So what is SHORT BUS full of? Just a bunch of fancy Texas words from a man who wrote them. They say everything is bigger in Texas, so how come I am only giving this bus book the smallest amount of stars?

  6. 4 out of 5

    H

    Review forthcoming at NewPages.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam Bell

    Very interesting an unusual book. I will forever wonder why more men don't wear tuxedos on their testicles though. Very interesting an unusual book. I will forever wonder why more men don't wear tuxedos on their testicles though.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    All popping with vivid imagery, damage and dislocation. Reviewed for American Book Review - http://americanbookreview.org/issueCo... All popping with vivid imagery, damage and dislocation. Reviewed for American Book Review - http://americanbookreview.org/issueCo...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Black Coffee Press

    There are not enough writers like Mr. Carr. Not enough indeed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anatoly

  11. 4 out of 5

    Notoejoe

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hugh Dufour

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ken Titt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert Paul

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ipsit

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Keller

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scot

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Orenchuk

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rodney Gomez

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Gutowski

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin Sirois

  26. 4 out of 5

    Clairee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Stone

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellis

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.