4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Ballistics (Hardcover)
Having read Wilson's story collection 'Once You Break A Knuckle' last year, it's fair to say 'Ballistics' was one of my most eagerly anticipated titles of 2013. So it's with some disappointment that I'm only giving it three stars. After finishing his first book I wanted to go back to Invermere and the Kootenay Valley for more and that is certainly what 'Ballistics' delivers - again it's very masculine, all about sons and fathers (and grandfathers), who wear ball caps and never a "collared shirt", shoot guns and drive trucks and know their way around a toolbox, and again it has a sentimental side to it too (these men love their dogs). Wilson's world (and his writing) is quite stylized, but with 'Ballistics' I felt like he'd gone too far - where the short stories still felt real, this feels almost like a parody, or certainly it is parody-able. And despite some great passages, Alan West never comes to life in the way Will Crease did in 'Once You Break a Knuckle' (Crease gets a brief mention in 'Ballistics' as a childhood friend of Alan). The other problem I had with 'Ballistics' is that it is told in two voices (Alan, and his grandfather Archer) and yet they sound too similar, just as Archer sounds almost identical to Alan's other grandfather, Cecil. And Alan never comes across as being in his late twenties - a few times he gets called 'kid' and he does sometimes read as a teenager rather than an adult.
I did like the book though - there's a good story at the heart of it - and I'd still pick up whatever else Wilson writes.