In France, Eric Miles Williamson is known as “The Erudite Bukowski.” In America, he has been called “The Last Beat.”
Best known for his internationally praised and stunning novels of the blue-collar world, with the publication of 14 Fictional Positions, Williamson now shows his readers he is much more than a chronicler of the lives of workers and America’s downtrodden.
Each of the stories in 14 Fictional Positions snaps with precision and intelligence. In “Hope, Among Other Vices and Virtues,” we find two men drinking “in manly tandem” whose women loathe them as much as they love them. “I love you,” says Agnes. “You are everything in a man I want to change.” “H A N G M A N,” set evidently in Brazil, weaves “a leaf-fringed legend” of two lovers whose lives are dictated by the formal arrangement of words and literary references. In “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young” Williamson shows himself to be an aphorist of the caliber of George Bernard Shaw, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Oscar Wilde, both witty and erudite. “The Teachings of Don B.” is a ghost story unlike any other in the English language, humorous and sad, insightful and playful, an homage to the foremost of Williamson’s many prominent mentors, who include Harold Bloom, Denis Donoghue, Ronald Sukenick, Jacques Derrida, Edward Dorn, and, of course, the ghost of Donald Barthelme.
Twenty-five years in the making, 14 Fictional Positions is a landmark short story collection, and confirmation that Eric Miles Williamson is an author whose energy, talent, and wisdom place him among the very best authors at work today in America.