Worth Your Trouble

Hey y’all.  I hope you’re doing well and enjoying your Thursday.  I’ve had a rough couple’a days and am feeling rather cranky.  I’m halfway through a self-imposed monthlong moratorium on my beloved whiskey and am slightly the worse for wear.

But I’m hangin’ in there.

And whaddaya know, a bright spot to share.

I recently finished reading a book I enjoyed so much I decided to post a solo review rather than include it with one of my regular features “Thoughts on 2 Books”, “Thoughts on 3 Books”, or “Brief Thoughts on a Bunch o’Books”.  I’ve already posted my review on Goodreads.  If you’re interested in reading the synopsis, click the linked title below.  And if you’re read the following book or anything else by its author, tell me what you think in my “Comments” section down below.

Trouble No Man

Trouble No Man by Brian Hart.  I rated it 4 of 5 stars, “really liked it”, on Goodreads and shelved it there as American, fiction, novel, & post-apocalyptic.

Trouble No Man surprised me in the best way possible. Most of the Goodreads recommendations I’ve read have been underwhelming, but this one, wow, knocked my socks off.

Protagonist Roy Bingham (variously referred to as R, M, Roy, & most often simply the man) is a free-spirited, independent, adventure-seeking skateboarder, surfer, and loner, and Hart often uses language specific to those lifestyles that is dense and may sometimes be difficult to decipher for readers, like me, who know nothing of those pursuits. Except for that quirk, though, the prose is lucid, fluid, and perfectly suited to the harsh environment and brutal lives the characters are forced to endure. Some of the blurbs I read compare Hart favorably with Cormac McCarthy, and that’s apt, but Hart’s writing is somewhat easier to follow. At least he uses punctuation and quotation marks to signify dialogue.

Few of the characters in Trouble No Man are innocent, but Roy himself, who ranges in age from <25 to >55, is a stubborn, mean, selfish, inconsiderate, confrontational, pill-popping, booze-swilling, commitment-phobic asshole who goes to great lengths to avoid being beholden to anyone else’s will. Until he doesn’t. After which he becomes single-minded in his determination to protect and provide for his family, not all of whom are related by blood, at all costs. He reminds me very much of myself; I didn’t grow up until after I turned 35. I think that’s the main reason I liked this book so much. Roy is me. Except a competent me who’s able to survive in a deadly world that would probably kill me pretty quickly.

In addition to the language and the thoroughly-imagined, relatable, & realistic characters; dead-on descriptions of the post-catastrophe West; and the best damned dog, Pecos, since Rin Tin Tin, two things make Trouble No Man a great work of literature.

The first is its entirely plausible and realistic story of societal breakdown. Although I shelved it as post-apocalyptic, you’ll notice I did not also shelve it as sci-fi. I have no trouble believing that this very scenario could happen here in America, possibly even within the next 10 or 20 years, which is when the book seems to be set, and that this is almost exactly how it would happen and what it would look like.

Second is Hart’s total avoidance of overtly blaming the apocalypse on the hot-button political arguments of our time and those who stand on either side of the Red/Blue divide. Trouble No Man is not conservative or liberal propaganda. It doesn’t demonize or praise either group; it flat out refuses even to engage in a political argument. It’s merely the brutally honest reporting of how those who live through such a catastrophe struggle to survive and carve out a niche for themselves in a depleted world that hasn’t come to pass.

Yet.

I’m going to add this one to my Amazon wish list and hope someone gives it to me for my birthday or Christmas. And I’m damn sure going to read some more of Hart’s work. If it’s half as good as Trouble No Man, consider me a new fan.

Have y’all read Trouble No Man or anything else by Brian Hart?  If so, what’d you think?  What do you think about post-apocalyptic fiction as a genre in general?

Take care, be well, and happy reading!

Love,

Denny

11 thoughts on “Worth Your Trouble

  1. You took the Dry January challenge and made it a shortened version by doing it in February!? Way to go, and way to occupy your time reading. I haven’t read the books, sorry, so I have nothing to add, just wanted to say, congrats on giving the dry month your best shot!! xx

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Congratulations!! Yes, a few beers here and there is just fine (according to my plan for dry)! And if you’re enjoying the break from the whiskey, that’s awesome! Thank you for sharing your journey with me too!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds really good and you know my thoughts on Roy! I’m not the biggest fan of post-apocalyptic novels and that’s mostly down to my bad experience with The Road, I’ve never been so horrified by an authors writing until I had read it which was a shame because the ending was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Is there much time spent on the road and, if so, do we get to see Roy being resourceful in a way akin to Huck Finn?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. u r a great book reviewer.👍
    i dont think u left anything out.
    one of the pro reviewers at Goodreads.
    wish i had ur talent.
    enjoyed this read.
    thats cool that u have a library to go to borrow books.📚
    the ones where i live now r too far.
    id always be late in returning them i think.
    i went last month to finally chk one out, but it was closed. bummer.
    hv a great day! 🌅🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for reading and for your thoughtful praise. Sometimes my reviews are more thorough than others depending on how much a book moves me.

      Nashville has an awesome public library network. One of their recent improvements has been to stop charging late fees!

      Many public libraries nowadays have extensive electronic media collections that allow you to check out ebooks, e-audiobooks, music, and videos on your smartphone or tablet. Maybe your nearest one does as well. Good luck!

      Like

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