Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sanctified and Chicken-Fried

Sanctified and Chicken-Fried: The Portable LansdaleSanctified and Chicken-Fried: The Portable Lansdale by Joe R. Lansdale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sanctified and Chicken-Fried is a collection of Joe R. Lansdale short stories. The cover says The Portable Lansdale. I guess that's true since this is a best-of collection.

The stories are a combination of old favorites, like Bubba Hotep and Mr. Weedeater, new stories like the Dust Devils, and excerpts from two of Lansdale's novels, the Magic Wagon and A Fine Dark Line. The short stories are great. Rather than review them all, I'll tell you about Mr. Weedeater.

Mr. Weedeater has been my favorite Lansdale short story for about a decade now. Job Harold, redneck and all round loser, sees a blind man trimming the yard of the church next door with a weedeater. He tries to help the blind man but the blind man is on the obnoxious side. Eventually, Job's conscience gets the better of him and he helps the blind man, then lets him relax in his living room. Job's family likes the blind man entirely too much for Job's liking. However, when Job drives the blind man home, his house has burned down and his wife suggests the blind man stay with them. Hilarity ensues.

While I enjoyed the hell out of this collection, I couldn't give it five stars for two reasons. First, only one of the stories was brand spankin' new. Second, I would have much rather had two more stories instead of the novel excerpts. If the collection had included Bestsellers, Guaranteed and the one about the people fighting over the locket containing the Virgin mary's Pubic hair, I would have given it five stars automatically.

If you don't have any Lansdale short story collections, this one is the perfect place to start. Otherwise, read the contents before you buy, although the stories within are good no matter how many times you've read them.

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