Adobe Flats.

Author:McCorquodale, Amanda
Position:Book review

Ken Wilkerson; ADOBE FLATS; Darvey Raignes Publishers (Fiction: Short Stories) 14.00 ISBN: 9780615806983

Byline: Amanda McCorquodale

The stories in this collection revere the land surrounding the drama, a mysticism that seems to guide characters in and out of trouble.

"At an empty table I sat and listened to the tired voices of forsaken souls seemingly trapped in a kind of post-apocalyptic American dead-end," writes Ken Wilkerson in his fantastically vivid short-story collection Adobe Flats. It's as if Wilkerson has struck his tuning fork against boulders, capturing the subtle vibrations of life in the Badlands of the California desert. In these stories, he recreates the hums resonating off canyons, pacing coyotes, and the "men of desperation [who] wander from rescue mission to bar to jail to boxcar and back again."

Wilkerson artfully treats setting like a beloved, developed character. Often, his barmaids, loners, and drifters further decay and experience alienation in the man-made environments of motels, biker bars, and bus depots. In contrast, his motley crew teeters on the edge of salvation back in the Badlands, in the natural world.

"With nature I often prefer romance over science," he writes in "Cloud Walker," a calming story in which he outlines the bond with his "coyote blood brother."...

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