|The real excitement of a well-done fireworks production comes not so much from a single boom and flash–anybody can make a big noise–but from the way the explosions pile up on each other, building and surprising and orchestrated to awe. And so it is with a Barry Hannah story. Every sentence–every sentence, he didn’t take breathers–is packed full of explosives and then set to detonate, one after the other. What makes them so spectacular? There’s the volatile mix of earthy slang and formal diction, and the uncanny rhythm of speech and thought, each note hit exactly. But most of all they are saturated with desire. Everyone in Hannah’s stories wants, wants desperately, and they do so at such a pitch that you can understand why Hannah, a fine novelist too, was better known for his intense shorter tales, the best of which are collected for the first time, following his untimely death last March, in Long, Last, Happy.
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