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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 12 Jim Gavin, "Middle Men"

Tonight on Bibliocracy Radio, on KPFK90.7 FM:  JIM GAVIN, on Middle Men. Do you recognize the real deal when you see it?  I mean the Real Deal, in caps, or in quotes, or whatever punctuation is required to separate it from The Rest?  Friends, home-grown So Cal short story writer Jim Gavin is the R.D., though most everybody already knew that except me, from The New Yorker to my friend novelist Victoria Patterson, who turned me on to his work, and ZYZZYVA editor Oscar Villalon, who raved about Gavin on NPR.  So, here I am, a Johnny Come Lately, with my over-eager and justifiably excited upper case of enthusiasm.  From Long Beach to Echo Park, Riverside to Compton, Gavin charts the stunted emotional growth of his “middle men,” boys and adult males who struggle with the near-geographical emotional boundaries drawn by work, school, family.  In the too-perfectly, ominously, hilariously titled “Bewildered Decisions in Times of Mercantile Terror,” an overachiever with one foot in failure dreams of spiritual wholeness in her ancestral home even as she negotiates the demise of her corporate career and tries to take care of a kind of her alter-ego, one in a series of Gavin’s lost boys named Bobby – the incarnation here of a series of hapless, feckless, just plain “less” young, old and middle-aged men.  Nora works unhappily in sales for a software company while the childhood family friend, a boy-man, pretends to invent a miracle product. Gavin’s writing confronts our region with the power of DJ Waldie, Joan Didion - Nathaneal West without the hyperbole, but with wicked humor and tenderness, too. This guy is a new favorite, and Middle Men is a must-read bound for a place in our region’s literary canon.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, as a download any time you like from the station archives.

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