Jesus Out to Sea

Jesus Out to SeaIn This Moving Collection Of Short Stories, James Lee Burke Elegantly Marries His Flair For Gripping Storytelling With His Lyrical Writing Style And Complex, Fascinating Character Portraits The Backdrop Of The Hurricane Ravaged Gulf Coast Is A Versatile Setting For Burke S Stories, Which Cover The Scope Of The Human Experience From Love And Sex To Domestic Abuse To War, Death, And Friendship. 4.5 A very worthy collection of shorts by one of my favorite prose masters ranging between 4 and 5 stars depending on where you find yourself between the lines That s the way it was back then You woke in the morning to the smell of gardenias, the electric smell of street carts, chicory coffee, and stone that has turned green with lichen The light was always filtered though trees, so it was never harsh, and flowers bloomed year round New Orleans was a poem, man, a song in your heart that never died Despite those dreamy lines I experienced several seriously WTF moments always to be expected when Jimmy tells a story Winter Light was one of them and needed a second listen followed by a search for an illusive answer which lead to discovery of the award winning short film version which of course I had to hunt down and enjoyed immensely A later story along the same theme A Season of Regret was also v
I couldn t help thinking this is Ray Bradbury from the wrong side of town, what happens to children who don t live in that pure middle American country idyll that Bradbury made so much his milieu Childhood fancy struggling through the real shit of American life, the violence, poverty, ignorance that are at least as much American life as that which Bradbury chronicles.Not only abo
For a variety of reasons, Burke is one of my favorite writers His Dave Robicheaux series of crime thrillers are true page turners Burke is a master in his descriptions of people, places and things in those books This book is a series of short stories that have been published between1990 and 2007 The title story is about the devastation that covered New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina The stories are not page turners like the crime novels They are, it seems to me, a serious literary effort, consisting mostly of stories of people in southern Louisiana who are down and out, whose lives have passed them by I didn t enjoy these short stories as wellas the crime novels, mostly I think, because there is a certain sadness to them The tone of the stories is not one to make you rejoice in the goodness of the human condition The narrator of the stories struggles to come to terms with th
Only El Leonard, James Lee Burke, Stephen King, and Lawrence Block seem to have the ability to make me yearn for the dying art of the short story It s a format that s fallen out of step with the times They re too long to be read safely in the span of a television commercial, yet too short to occupy a bedside stand for a week It the light lunch of literature and we live in polarized times when folks opt for gluttony or ascetics, Atkins or Grapefruit The short story fills that beautiful sweet spot in between, but since it s an antiquated form, there s little market for it Authors that indulge seem to do so out of the challenge that the short story possesses And the great canvas it creates to let an author pour out a lot of conceits and constructions they ve had burning in their mind for a while that they couldn t elegantly fit into a novel without it sticking out like a sore thumb.Jesus Out to Sea reads like a casting call of all of the small background characters of Burke s Dave Robicheaux series that you wish were allocated ink They run the gamut racially and socially, but all are united in being battered by life in one form or another, mired in misery yet strangely never bleak They span a wide variety of life experience, from the Katrina ravaged New Sout
I read Burke just for the beauty of his prose The atmospheres he builds are intensely involving and his descriptions can bring tears to a statue This brief collection of short stories, previously published in several different sources, are far ranging at times, but several are tales o
The majority of these stories are set on the Texas Louisiana coast, and I ve been tempted to read this author because he writes in that setting a lot This collection is not an encouragement to seek his other material.Someone on this website has already typed up a random passage for me to show you Sometimes he comes to me in my dreams, and I wonder if ironically all our stories were written on his skin back there in Texas City in 1947 Or maybe that s just poetic illusion purchased by time But even in the middle of an Indian summer s day, when the sugarcane is beaten with purple and gold light in the fields and the sun is both warm and cool on your skin at the same time, when I know that the earth is a fine place after all, I have to mourn just a moment for those people of years ago who lived lives they did not choose, who carried burdens that were not their own, whose invisible scars were as private as the scarlet beads of Sister Roberta s rosary wrapped across the back of her small hand, as bright as drops of blood ringed round the souls of little people The first sentence in this sample does not make any sense in the context of the story There are several ways to write on the skin of dead people, but sadly the ironic approach is not explained in great detail here I m going to have to stop reading that sentence because it s starting to unravel my grasp of the English language Or maybe that s just poetic illusion purch
I don t care to revisit moments like that This book contains eleven short stories, spanning seven decades and set in two continents The themes are dark, touching on much that is unpleasant but offering, too, the hope of redemption I look at him and feel ashamed of both of us What makes these stories work is the extraordinarily vivid characters that Mr Burke creates in each story Some of the stories are linked through their characters others share themes of childhood, of the price of peace, of the cost of war, of the personal impact of disaster.Three stories particularly remain in my mind in Texas City, 1947 the Sonnier children s father disappears They are left with an abusive stepmother They develop their own solution to this problem In Winter Light , set in Montana, an aging professor tries to deal with trespassing hunters His actions have their own sense, but are not likely to prevail We re here , one of the hunters yelled at the others We re here And, in Jesus Out to Sea set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina we see failure Not only has the government failed to react effectively to the disaster, the city itself had been moving from hope to despair There is less hope evident in this story it s hard to move past the imagery of Jesus on a cross, the remnant of a destroyed church, floating away in the floodwaters.I also enjoyed the trio of stories featuring Charlie and
This is one of those books that I m glad I ve read, given my liking for the author, but also wouldn t have bought thanks, library system because I ve yet to come across any collection of short stories that holds my attention the same way as a novel.I ve long been a fan of James Lee Burke s crime novels, which I recommend like crazy to anyone who hasn t come across him He s essentially a novellist who happens to write crime, with a deft touch and lyrical language describing both the people and the places where his stories are set.In Jesus Out to Sea, we get
This book is amazing I read it twice Everything James Lee Burke writes, he writes well but while reading this book, I had to keep reminding myself this really happened You may have listened to all of the news reports about Katrina and felt sympathy for what the people there were experiencing, both during and so long after After reading this book I will remember Katrina like I remember my grandmother telling me about the great depression and how they got through it The title comes is
As I have to come to expect the style and skill of Burke conveys great feeling to his writing and I enjoyed all the stories My only minor criticism of the collection is that a couple of the stories are a little similar in theme and perhaps it would have been better to