AN EAR TO THE GROUND by Scott C. Davis


Presenting Writers from 2 Coasts
edited by
Email this review


 Designed ``as a salon'' for new writers from the East and West coasts, according to editor Davis (The World of Patience Gromes, 1988), this wildly uneven collection of essays claims ``local truth'' as its unifying theme, though many of the 78 entries have nothing to do with coastal locales. Davis's emphasis on ``local truth'' is perplexing: Sean Bentley's ``Night Train to Pisa'' describes a frightening episode during his first trip to Europe. Sande Smith of Philadelphia chips in a piece on France, while another writer describes her 1979 sojourn in Italy with an ex-husband. Many pieces have no ``place'' at all. There's a good bit by Lance Carden on roller coasters; Kenneth Carroll examines black anti-Semitism and Jewish racism; and in ``Fury,'' Bruce Duane Martin describes his father beating his dog to death with a bootjack--an incident that occurred in 1963 on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Others do focus on a ``local truth''; Shauna Somers declares, ``I walk Los Angeles,'' out of necessity and love, having survived nine car accidents, and to ``avenge'' the deaths of two grandparents run down by cars. Reba Owen writes of body surfing in winter off the coast of Oregon. Donna Clovis recounts the legend of the New Jersey Devil that haunts the Pine Barrens. And Ronnie Ritts contributes a breezy essay on his years as a Miami taxi driver. An interesting and admirable endeavor by Davis and his independent publishing company, but there's too much that simply isn't good and too little that thematically brings it all together. (78 b&w illustrations)

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1997
ISBN: 1-885942-85-0
Page count: 492pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1997