The Hook ~ After the Workshop

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I thought I might add a little feature here at iron inklings. I’m calling it “The Hook” and it’s basically what catches my eye about a book and causes me either to read it or buy it. I guess this is a little bit like Bad Bloggers. It may be a recommendation, but it could also be the cover, a first line or just a random paragraph like the one that grabbed me from John McNally’s novel After the Workshop. It’s about Jack Hercules Sheahan, Iowa Writer’s Workshop grad and media escort for author tours. I read the following paragraph during the intermission at an Open Mic at my local bookstore and I pretty much knew this book was mine:

I had landed the job of media escort because the guy who had it prior to me (a writer named Max Kellogg who’d graduated from the Workshop a full ten years before I did) got drunk one winter night, drove through a guard rail, and drowned in the Iowa River. Witnesses said his car sank like a stone. When the police fished him out, they found inside his car an itinerary for Joyce Carol Oates’s upcoming visit to town and an unfinished novel manuscript with Max Kellogg’s name on it. The police labeled the cause of death an accident, but I knew without a doubt that it was his damn unfinished novel that killed him. (79)

Okay, I know it’s not, but I found this hilarious. Or at least, very funny. When the term “slacker” was bandied about when referring to people of my generation, I used to get annoyed, but this book totally appeals to the inner slacker in me. My underachieving self, who used to think that I was better than all those annoying, pretentious English majors who were in fact smarter than me, just loves this book! I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to get bumped up on my list of things to read.


2 thoughts on “The Hook ~ After the Workshop

    mlkabik said:
    May 31, 2010 at 1:01 am

    I think finding that section funny depends alot on what background you come from. I laughed when I read the last sentence, and immediately felt bad, but got over it.

    I think it helps that JCO is involved. It seems like a brief sidestep she’d take in a novel. I’m glad you shared, my night is made.

      ta responded:
      June 2, 2010 at 1:46 am

      Oh good. I’m glad. True it wouldn’t be as funny if it was a different author. JCO makes me feel like a complete sloth.

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