Nov 282007
Authors: Griffin Faust

Not everything ends happy and anyone can attest to that. Even in life, love, family and community nothing seems to be exactly as good as it sounds.

“How funny, being alive .” is a relevant and popular theme most new writers, I feel, are using in beginning a career publishing stories and books. Differentiated from the usual crowd of commentary writers, however, is a truly exploratory voice that is clean and grounded in familiarity. Local writer Blair Oliver manifests excellent style and complex themes together in his new book “Last Call.”

My favorite story is the book’s debut, titled “Precious Metals,” about a misunderstood boy and his friend travelling to the roller rink. At the roller rink, girls are waiting for a blind date.

Mounting is the boy’s mentality of inadequacy and dubious protocol of an enjoyable skating date. Dramatic effect swells as we the readers are kept curious of the boy’s interactions with people close to him, particularly his own parents.

Throughout the nine stories that culminate this book, I very much liked the neorealist approach in plot structure and development, returning to the commonplace of family and little nuisances that go unnoticed but actually make up much of what life really is. The details are precise and developed the character’s story in an interesting, external way.

I think the most telling factor that this is an accomplished author is the way Oliver’s stories are written with an undeniable and different kind of wit. Nothing that can be pinpointed, unfortunately, but Oliver has a sense of identifying loud behavior that usually goes unseen.

The characters possess an astuteness that isn’t traditionally thought of as intelligent, but they are keenly sensitive to behavior and tension filling the room.

It is this sensitivity in Oliver’s writing that makes me conjecture my own sense of perception. In more than just fluidly laconic prose, the author frames the stories in such a way the end is really just a beginning. I have always enjoyed the open-ended narratives, because few things in life end neatly packaged with a bow.

Staff writer Griffin Faust can be reached at

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