Review: THE GARBAGE TIMES/WHITE IBIS by Sam Pink

Janelle Book Reviews, Contemporary, From Publisher, Humor, Novella, Soft Skull Press 0 Comments

Thank you so much to Soft Skull Press for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.

Book Description: 

From the freezing alleys of Chicago to the dew-blanketed bayou of Florida. From bouncing drunks and cleaning up puke to biking through the swamp laughing at peacocks. Freeze to thaw. Filth and broken glass and black water backed up in showers; lizards and Girl Scouts and themed birthday parties. A baby rat freed from the bottom of a dumpster becomes a white ibis wandering the wet driveway after a storm. Goodbye, hello, goodbye. It was the garbage times; it was time for something else. A tale of two tales, connected by a mysterious sunlit portal.

My Review: 

This book is made up of two novellas and is a really quick read! My favorite aspect is the poetic, staccato writing style and the overall unique structure of the book. The novellas are opposite each other and share a common narrator. You read one side, then flip it over to read the other.

THE GARBAGE TIMES is set in Chicago with bleak weather, a dive bar, rats, and pigeons. It exposes the city’s dark underbelly with its drunks and drug addicts. I read this one first as I believe it’s meant to be. I had no idea what to expect because I’ve never read Pink’s work before, but I found myself breezing right through it. There is a lot of garbage, provocative and vulgar dialogue, so it most definitely lives up to the title. My only criticism is that it got a bit repetitive, but other than that I enjoyed it! Oh, and I love the cat!

Then I flipped over and read WHITE IBIS, which is my favorite of the two. Our narrator moves away from “garbage times” to Florida for better, easier times. There’s an artist, a girlfriend, a Girl Scout troop, armadillos, and other really cool animals! I loved this story so much! I’m blown away by Pink’s writing prowess and sharp, witty dialogue that forces you to see the world through new eyes. I love the contrast of the two novellas and how they tie-in together: one is dark and dismal while the other is light and sweet.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience! It’s like none other I’ve had before. I am anxious to read more of Pink’s work. Did I mention all the fantastic animals?!! The more I reflect on this book, the more I love it.

My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Click here to purchase on Amazon. 

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