Sunday, October 7, 2007

I Sailed With Magellan

Hello all. I figured a book by one of my favorite authors would be appropriate considering Stuart Dybek has been in the news this past week. Dybek is a Chicago native who is currently in residence at Northwestern University. He was in the papers because he received one of those MacArthur "Genius" Grants. Basically, for being a talented and awesome writer he gets $500,000 with no strings attached. Where do I sign up?

Dybek is far from prolific. "Magellan" is only his third collection of short stories. His first two, "Childhood And Other Neighborhoods", and "Coast of Chicago" were both excellent but I think "Magellan" is his best. The primary character in the stories is Perry Katzek, a Polish-American boy growing up on Chicago's south side. The tales are populated by the colorful members of Perry's family as well as local gangsters, drunks and others that make these stories breezy and compelling reads. Its definitely worth a read at the very least to satisfy your curiosity at just what the $500K fuss is about.

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