About the Book:
Dasan Garret is a disappointed man. Recently divorced and just returned from a traumatic tour of duty in Iraq, he moves back to his hometown of Portland, Oregon only to find himself unexpectedly alone. His old friends are all gone, moved away, locked up, or dead. Women seem to occupy a parallel universe. With no community and few prospects, he takes a job as a night watchman and withdraws ever deeper into the shadows of his mind. Until one day when he meets Edenia, and she lights up his world like a bolt of pure energy. She seems perfect: vibrant, gifted, kind, sexy, a sudden and unlooked-for reprieve from the sad ruin of his life. And yet there remains a nagging sense that something isn’t right. Could it be that he is merely slow to trust the happiness she offers him? Or is there something behind that waver in her laugh, that fleeting look of sadness in her eyes?
The mystery deepens when one day Edenia disappears. Dasan believes he must find her in order to go on living. But to find her again, he will have to confront a devastating truth about her life, and his.
Will be posted as soon as they’re available.
Matthew Chabin was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He served four years in the US Navy as a ship crewman, journalist and public affairs liaison. He studied literature and philosophy at Southern Oregon University. After graduating in 2010, he started teaching English abroad, working in the Czech Republic and volunteering with the Dalai Lama’s affiliate organization, Tibet Charity, in Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj, India. He currently lives in Nagano Prefecture of Japan with his wife, Marie, and cat, Futa.
His work has appeared in Gravel: A Literary Journal, Southern Pacific Review, Piker Press, and Black Denim. He is the author of a memoir, Equaling Heaven, which he hopes to see published in the near future.
Top Ten TV Shows With Great Writing
I watch a limited amount of TV, and I know there are a lot of shows with reputedly great writing (Madmen, comes to mind) that I simply haven’t made time for. I don’t mean to slight any shows that didn’t make the cut—I’m sure they’re great—and certainly the ones that did reflect my personal tastes as much as anything. That said….
10) The Sopranos
The flagship series that launched HBO’s golden age, the success of the show owed as much to the writing as to the cast. Some of the later seasons suffered meandering storylines and general sprawl, but overall this was one of the most memorable, best written shows in recent history.
9) The Shield
This West Coast crime drama, centered around an indomitable and corrupt cop, begs comparison to the Sopranos. I give it priority of place because it stayed tight and followed through with a much more assured ending.
8) South Park
Even after eighteen seasons, South Park can still deliver laughs and biting social commentary. In its prime it was the funniest and arguably one of the wisest running satires on American life ever to air on TV. If you’ve watched the show regularly and never once felt uncomfortable, you’re probably a psychopath. If you weren’t frequently reduced to tears of laughter, check your pulse.
7) Twin Peaks
David Lynch’s miniseries of small town corruption and supernatural noir was a weird and daring masterpiece of early 90’s small screen. Twenty-five years later, Showtime is bringing it back, which Lynch signed on to direct an 18-episode sequel. Here’s hoping they do it right!
6) Game of Thrones
An indulgent choice, perhaps, but I love this show. It brings a hard-core respectability to the fantasy genre by going medieval on view expectations. The source books’ author, George R. Martin, has done his homework, drawing on the violent histories of old Europe the same way the Sopranos and The Sheild’s writers mined the American underworld. It may not be Tolkien, but its riveting good entertainment for our day.
Another example of what happens when talented writers are trusted with creative control, Louie C.K.’s eponymous series is a rare delight. It routinely takes the viewer beyond the comfortable bounds of network comedy and into surreal, almost existential essays of uncharted territory. Behind the humdrum New York scenery and unprepossessing human specimens, you can feel how relentlessly driven this show is, how its animating genius hungers for authenticity like a fat man in line at a pizza parlor. If it falls a little short of polished, aesthetic perfection, one gets the feeling this is a calculated move, a concession to something, like Kafka’s truncated narratives.
4) Boardwalk Empire
A brilliantly conceived, aesthetically perfect, superbly written drama, Boardwalk Empire made very few mistakes in its five season run. If anything, HBO pulled the plug too soon, and the shortened last season felt rushed. Even so, the resolutions were beautifully orchestrated, crowned with a sense of transcendent, karmic gestalt that very few shows manage to pull off. This show had the strength of its convictions and repaid the viewers’ investment at three points or more above the vig.
3) The Wire
There are a number of reasons why you could argue for a lower ranking on this one. The second season was weak. The focus drifted. The dialogue wavered between inspired and ho-hum (consider the often forgettable and seemingly random quotes that opened each episode). And yet this was one of the most addicting, intriguing, and downright moving dramas ever put on television. I think the reasons have to do with the writers’ passion and commitment to realism—not just for the sake of street cred, but born out of a missionary sense of purpose, to tell it like it is in the heart of beleaguered urban of America. The Emmy Awards set only injured their own reputation when they snubbed this one year after year. But those who were watching remember.
2) True Detective
Plenty has been said about this highly intelligent, atmospheric, incredibly intense police drama. Apart from some scattered, uber-jaded dismissals from somewhere beyond the Crab Nebula (it must be lonely to be that cool), the only cogent hit against this show was its lack of strong female characters. That’s fair, but the exclusion followed partly from the sniper-like focus on the two male leads (a year after watching it, who can name any of the other characters, male or female?), and will apparently be redressed in the second installment, set to air this summer. Personally, I think art this good gets a lot of leeway in dictating its own terms.
For all the great television HBO has given us since, they never really atoned for the sin of shuttering one of the greatest shows ever after just three seasons. Creator David Milch drew on such weighty works as The Book of Job and Moby Dick to craft his themes, and achieved a result worthy of those influences, television that sinks deep in the way of great literature. The profane, elaborate, architectural dialogues posed a challenge for many viewers, but at its best it could be staggeringly powerful and terribly funny, often both at the same time. I leave you with a taste….
“Her husband came here with childish ideas. Bought himself a gold claim with me an honest broker. Claim pinches out, which will happen. But he can’t take it like a man, has to blame somebody. Sellers left camp, so he picks on me. Says he’ll bring the Pinkertons if I don’t offer restitution. I got a healthy operation and I didn’t build it brooding on the right and wrong of things. I do not need the Pinkertons descending like locusts. So I bend over for the tenderfoot cocksucker. Reconnoiter your claim fully, I say. And then, if you’re still unhappy, I’ll give you your fucking money back. And the tenderfoot agrees. Just as he’s finishing his reconnoiter, cocksucker falls to his death, pure fucking accident. But up jumps the widow in righteous fucking indignation. Wants the doctor to examine him for murder wounds. My vision of locusts returns. I see Pinkertons coming in swarms.”