Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Track Wreckard 1-14 By Denis Sheehan

A BagelBards Book Review

“Track Wreckard 1-14”
By Denis Sheehan
Bone Print Press, No price listed

Reviewed 2/13/12 by Paul Steven Stone

“Track Wreckard 1-14” is the linearly told tale of two weeks in the life of the author, who set himself the literary task of recording 14 consecutive nights down at a local Pub in Rockland, Mass, which is on the South Shore of Boston, for all you snootie urban intellectuals who would swear Cape Cod lies just beyond the southernmost border of Boston.

But not to get distracted, as the author of Train Wreckard often does, since he is religiously recording the minutiae of his life as a barfly in a blue collar town where flies come in larger herds than writers and distractions are as frequent as attractive (or eligible) women moving across the landscape of the author’s blurry vision.

Aside from developing a drinking problem, or feeling like I did, reading the book did an excellent job of replicating the boredom and pointlessness of a life spent without challenges or significant interests. Often the most intriguing question of a chapter (evening?) would be which stranger Fate might send to occupy the next bar stool, or two stools down, with the constant gambler’s prayer that it be some gorgeous, unattached nymphomaniac who could give this book some spontaneous sexual gravitas.

To give you a feel for Sheehan’s approach and a flavor of his writing, here from the beginning of Vol. (chapter?) X is Sheehan reminding us of the rules of the game:

“Tonight’s Scenes from the Local.
Here we are again, at the end of a long drunken night out at the local fav. Another Track Wreckard, number 10 (ten). Unedited and unproofed for your uneasy reading and deciphering. The night is over except for this writing…”

Yes, it’s only a small part of the writer’s conceit, but he has chosen to shoot from the hip in telling his tales, never bothering to go back and proofread or edit his output, and rarely editing the flow of detritus that occupies his mind as a proud Rockland townie and barfly wannabe.

Would I recommend “Track Wreckard 1-14” to a friend? Not unless he was at the beginning stages of alcoholism and needed to see how things look halfway down the slide. I would however recommend reading half a dozen or so of the book’s volumes (chapters?) to anyone who might enjoy wiping the cigarette smoke and boozy film off this window on a world not often portrayed in all its fatigue and (did I already say?) pointlessness.

Of course, every once in a while Sheehan offers both a slice of life and corresponding insights, such as at the end of Vol. (chapter?) XIII…
“At some point, I failed to notice when, a couple came in and sat next to me, though separated by a pole. The man is your average looking dude, but the woman has something about her. She’s a bit older but has that “ouch” thing going for her. The woman is trying to be all over the guy, but he’s way too interested in his cell phone, Keno, and the Celtics game. As time passes, she goes from paying attention to him to paying attention to her hair. Men are fools. I know I certainly am…”

“Train Wreckard 1-14” makes no pretense about reaching beyond its grasp to present literature or a compelling narrative. Just 14 nights at the local Tap with all the usual suspects. If you want to read a book that’s proudly different and highly unpretentious, pull up a stool and grab a pint. You’ve got a drinking companion already waiting for you.

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