Author: Joseph Ferguson
Purchase: Southbound on Amazon
“A short story collection about Basement Man ; moody drunk, sometime rock climber, absurdist philosopher, raconteur of the ridiculous, rogue, and not-so-merry prankster from the North End of Yonkers (aka Junkies Paradise). An every-man for nobodies, he is ever adrift between the carrot of sobriety and the reality of carpe diem. Bowing only to the laws of Murphy, he can never decide whether the lucky ones are the survivors or those who died years ago.”
“Southbound” is a very emotionally charged novel. It is listed as a short story collection, but the writing resembles poetry more than anything. It is easy to read, but very raw and real.
In the acknowledgments section, Joseph Ferguson talks about how he borrowed the stories used in the book from people he knows, as well as basing “the basement man” on a man named Brain Weidner. Since he took the stories from real people, the book reads like a memoir of a less than perfect life.
The writing, at times, can be hard to read due to the poor language and grammar used, but the use of these techniques is intentional to portray the character in the story. Ferguson wanted to portray a rough type of person and accomplished this, but that is the only reason that I gave this book 4/5 stars.
Books that are written in a poetic style can bring on a new form of emotion, and you will find “Southbound” to be reminiscent of other poetry driven novels, such as the work of Ellen Hopkins.
“Southbound” is an easy, short read and will make you think about drug addicts and outcasts differently. Joseph Ferguson did a great job at giving a voice to the voiceless and I will gladly read this book again. The best books are those that represent different perspectives, and Ferguson has added a great novel to American literature. I would not be surprised if this book became a classic. It reads like something that would be assigned in high schools or universities, and it would be a great book to analyze deeper.
*Joseph Ferguson will be the first author featured in my author interview month in June. Look out for his interview which will be posted June 1!*
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