Brian Allen Carr’s Short Bus and Flannery O’Connor’s “Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”

Brian Allen Carr’s collection of stories, Short Bus (Texas Review Press), is dedicated to the memory of William Patrick Carr (1977-2000). I rarely start a review, or consideration of a book with the dedication, but it seems apt to do so with this enormously sorrowful, beautiful collection of stories. I’ve yet to meet a human being who hasn’t suffered, usually tremendously, a horrible loss at some point in their lives. But not everyone can or will turn that loss into art. Carr does just that and more. This does not mean his work is entirely autobiographical, but Carr knows from where he writes.

Most urgent, moving writing is born out of suffering and tragedy. But it  can also be funny, even hilarious, even if underlying that humor is a felt darkness and raw pain. And in suffering, moments of grace are even more evident, unexpected, and not taken for granted. Continue reading