Very Tight Schedule

Theo Tait

  • Driving the Heart by Jason Brown
    Cape, 224 pp, £10.00, January 2000, ISBN 0 224 06053 8

Jason Brown’s sometimes excellent first book is a collection of stories mostly set in and around Portland, Maine. His subject is what Sherwood Anderson, a pioneer of the genre, called the ‘buried lives’ of individuals. His narrators – loners, neglected children, thieves, substance abusers – are isolated, unsuccessful people, longing, more or less consciously, for some kind of wider community. Despite the small scale and determinedly regional focus of his fiction, Brown’s vision – like Anderson’s – is grand, even grandiose. It’s a way of imagining a huge, fluid industrial society.

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