I defy Barry Graham to write a first-person novel told from the perspective of a total wimp.
His heroes are always mega masculine, usually emerging from nightmarish childhood abuse to stand up in adulthood as paragons of self-reliance and defiance against all enemies, willing and eager to resist and fight against what seems to the casual reader unimaginable evil.
Graham does not fail to deliver in HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BLUE-EYED BOY? His protagonist, Andy, has emerged from a long stint in the military, endured homelessness, friendlessness, skirted despair and PTSD. Yet he lands on his feet, secures work as a handyman, writes for the local independent paper, grudgingly plays in a “punk” band, meditates each morning and night before his zen altar, teaches a brutal self defense class—”It is easier than you might think to suck an opponent’s eye from his skull”—yet somehow keeps his wits about him as bodies of his friends fall like cactus needles in the brutal heat of Phoenix AZ America. There’s a killer coming ever closer. And Andy, his blood-colored piss sitting like in the toilet bowl, won’t surrender.
Graham is easily one of the “earthiest” writers who has ever caused me to grimace while reading his sentences, His descriptions of violence put Cormac McCarthy to shame. His sex scenes nearly cross the Rubicon of the pornographic. Yet he never takes the easy path into the realm of cheap sensation. His sentential events are clipped and spare and exact, his plots are irresistible. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOU BLUE-EYED BOY? is a great fucking read. “Highly recommended!”