For the most part, I read to be entertained. I normally don’t enjoy nonfiction memoirs. My escapes into literature are normally just that; escapes, so when I picked up David Antrobus’s short story, “Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip,” I did so understanding two things: harsh memories would be dredged up and someone else’s emotions would become my own. What I did not expect to find was a sudden admiration for an author that, in my honest opinion, makes my own writing look banal in comparison.
I do these reviews not to help sell other author’s works, but to dissect what they have done right or wrong. I am a self-trained storyteller; literature is my classroom. With David Antrobus, I have learned that there is beauty in the mundane. My favorite bit from the story has David likening a cloud of smoke to a head of a cauliflower. Simple, beautiful, striking. You see exactly what he means without him having to go into great detail. That might seem like a small thing to everyone else, but to me, it’s my life’s blood.
I enjoyed the story as much as I could, seeing as it’s not a light-hearted journey. What I saw was a man coming blindly into a terrible situation. There was no one to fight, no place-holder to attack, nothing but an overwhelming since of sadness and empathy for those around him. At that moment, David seemed to look within and without with equal curiosity. So often I read stories from only one point of view—the author describing in glorious detail what’s happening inside, inside, inside, forgetting for a moment that the real world is still going on around them. David doesn’t do this. He examines his own feelings as well as the emotions emanating from those he comes in contact with. I applaud his efforts, for he succeeds page after page.
David Antrobus has a way with syntax. You can tell he is a well-read, intelligent individual that could crush you with his vocabulary given the chance, yet he dribbles instead of spews. He brings out the big guns only when their effect is desirable and doesn’t beat you about the head with verbose meanderings. Having an extensive lexicon and knowing when to use it is a gift in my eyes. David, you, sir, are gifted.
This is the first piece from David I have read—other than his online presence—and it will not be my last. Thank you for sharing your travels. They were well received.