Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book review: Just Like Dostoyevsky by Barry Rachin

Reviewed for The New Podler Review of Books by Libby Cone.

Just Like DostoyevskyHaving sat down at my computer to sort through the literary fiction on Smashwords, imagine my surprise at finding a winner in my first selection! “Just Like Dostoyevsky” by Barry Rachin is a smart short story about a divorcee, her teenage daughter, and an Irish handyman. Even better, the story is free. Unless, like myself, one has the great good fortune to be married to an engineer who also knows plumbing, certain domestic emergencies arise that call for a handyman. The man in question, Danny O’Rourke, hails from the Emerald Isle and charms mother and daughter with his quiet competence. The dialogue is dead-on. Rachin even manages to fit in flashbacks to a Russian trip the mother had taken the year before. The kid is appropriately flirty, the professor mother reserved. My only complaint was the succession of adjective-comma-adjective-noun phrases, like “curly, brown hair,” “muggy, July warmth,” “leggy, blonde coed.” Nothing that can’t be fixed.

The book is available at Smashwords.

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