Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dry Bones-Peter Quinn, Overlook Duckworth Press; 2013

It's not too often that Disaster Amnesiac reads thrillers, but something about the cover image for Dry Bones, Peter Quinn's great recent novel, WWII grunts humping it through some village in western Germany circa 1945, compelled me to grab it from my local library branch and dig in.
Digging I have done so, too. 
Quinn's lean, eloquent Noir style tells a mid-20th Century story, encompassing the deep human wreckage of modern warfare, using the rough time frame of 1945 to 1958. Dry Bones offers poetic insights, generally reflected by men in mid-life, to muse on the human elements of love, loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, both on macro societal and micro personal levels. The issue of how societies and people make deals with themselves and others, not always "clean", to fulfill their aspirations seems to be central within this novel, and Quinn addresses it with highly skilled story telling. 
Dry Bones is a fascinating look into a period whose underlying dynamics are generally forgotten, with elements of Cold War espionage and revolution, MK Ultra slight of hand, and the often unseemly realities of national struggle all looked at from the somewhat tragic and darkened perspective of people at middle age. 
Disaster Amnesiac figures that its message is instructive and adds a lot to, at very least, my own understanding of these liminal issues.

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