From an essay written by Micah, a young central character tossed about in Drury's casually eventful novel:When I was small I survived a tornado that blew a van in which I was a passenger through a silo. The wind was so loud that all the world and its things seemed to be made of sound waves. Tools floated about like you might pick one from the air as an astronaut would in zero gravity. The tornado taught me that you can get in and out of trouble in unexpected ways. I used to have a goat that would knock things over and pin them with her forelegs as if to say "Now it is mine." My favorite subject is world history. I think it was a bad deal when the citizen farmers were forced to move to Rome where they had nothing to do in the second century.
Casually eventful, casually full of grace, carefully crafted word by word, Drury's novel--like Drury's prior novels, particularly The End of Vandalism
, which you ought to read not because its characters return here ('though that may provide some further pleasure) but because it's a damn wonderful novel--bends the reader's sense of the world. He will sketch an understated set of details that condense a storm into three meticulous images, and then before the paragraph's called it a day jumps through time and space to some strange new sentiment or setting. You will not know whether he's left huge gaps and absences we must struggle to fill in or whether he's found or forged new kinds of connections, stitching together a previously-unimagined sense of how things inflect one another. This trick occurs at the level of sentence, plot, tone. It is a peculiar, wondrous kind of magic--Drury's like no other writer, reworking the ways the novel (heck, the sentence) inflects our understanding of how we live and think and feel in time.
And he's funny: People who thought nature was some happy playground should spend some time looking into the mouth of a possum.