“Many of the stories are linked by recurring characters; more importantly,
they continually remind us of our essential interconnectedness. Here you’ll
find wisdom (‘Stay warm. Bless your reveries,’ in one of many deft
comic touches), cunning, love, frailty, murderousness, and compassion so surprising
it takes even the compassionate by surprise.”
—Oronte Churm, blogger at Inside Higher Ed
(aka John Griswold, author of A Democracy of Ghosts)
Reviews: Minnesota Memoirs
Duff Brenna’s one of those storytellers who gets it right in every sentence.
A master craftsman’s master craftsman. He’s got miles to go before he’s
done building his cabinet of books, but I’ve already bronzed him in my 99th
percentile. And what unforgettable characters. If he’d closed up shop after
just his first three novels, we’d have close to a dozen Hall-of-Fame candidates
on the ballot. Mamie Beaver, John Beaver, Christian Foggy, Shepard, Jasper John,
Henry Hank, Godot, Didi Godunov, Fat Stanley, Triple E, and my personal favorite,
The stories that make up Minnesota Memoirs are quintessential Duff.
If you know his novels, you’ll recognize scenes and characters. If not, you’re
in for a treat of another kind, the best kind, stories that will stay with you because
they’re shaped by the best of the best. Remember that when Vernon, twine in
hand, sinks his arm to the elbow in Cristobell. Ain’t nobody can birth a calf
like Duff Brenna, American treasure.
Top of Page
Review from Amazon.com by
[Editor’s Note: John Griswold, author of A Democracy of Ghosts, blogs
under the pen name of Oronte Churm.]
It’s out of vogue to suggest we learn things in aid of our survival by reading
literature. But with this new story collection you’ll learn many things, starting
with 19 more ways of looking at a blackbird; how to hotwire a car (and start an
affair); and what “all good Americans who love God and their country”
are up to in their passionate, sodden nights and regretful days that follow.
These pages swarm with humanity: Unofficial and unpaid caregivers—the ones
who sing to cows, take in unwanted children, and bear witness and give comfort when
no one else can be bothered—braggarts, cheats, thieves, failures, mad word-drunk
egotists, dope-smoking seniors, and the habitués of a rollicking gay bar. Many of
the stories are linked by recurring characters; more importantly, they continually
remind us of our essential interconnectedness. Here you’ll find wisdom (“Stay
warm. Bless your reveries,” in one of many deft comic touches), cunning, love,
frailty, murderousness, and compassion so surprising it takes even the compassionate
Duff Brenna’s prose rolls along at a profound pace, unhurried and seeming
to touch everything, like a river through a dark landscape. “What I’d
like to know is what’s the point?” a character says wonderingly of life.
This collection, as with the best art, bears its own answer.
Top of Page