Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BAR SCARS by Nik Korpon

My life is a crooked deck of cards: all varying slightly, but basically the same and repeated endlessly.
Nik Korpon's short story collection exists in its very own Baltimore, a tough and uncompromising place that always seems to be shrouded in the dark of night and filled with sadness and ruin. And Korpon is the perfect person to give you the tour. He has this very singular, bluesy, atmospheric prose style that sets the mood and really finds the beauty in emotional wreckage. It's sharp, to the point, and uncompromising, while still being stylish.

I loved the way Korpon constantly peeled back different layers and pieces of information as each story moved forward, setting up expectations on what you think the story might be about at first, but subverting them at every turn, keeping you guessing about the characters and their motivations, whether they be a bootleg backroom surgical assistant in "His Footsteps are Made of Soot," a bagman on his way to propose to his girl in "Intersections," or a man in love with an underage girl in "A Sparrow with White Scars." Great little collection of contemporary noir. I love the way Korpon writes.
Pulling her close, we started dancing. Her breasts pressing on my chest, curves filling in the shape of my body, her fingers kneading mine, I took a chorus-length inhale, took in all her begonia and saltwater, her soft skin and our 2 AM laughs, our rough sex and quiet nights and everything we'd ever talked about and planned for, I took it in and held my breath.

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