Lately it's started to seem to me that here in America our fetishization of self-reliance has taken a wrong turn and has helped enable us to jettison compassion as a national value while still maintaining a vision of ourselves as essentially well-meaning. It hasn't taken a whole lot of common sense, given the evidence of the last few years, to puzzle out the heartlessness of unregulated capitalism, and yet our political class has embraced even more fervently the notion of every man for himself, even given the ever-growing numbers such a philosophy leaves behind.
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The protagonist of Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours doesn't make it easy for us, channeling as he does Barry Hannah and Denis Johnson by way of Rick Bass and Dennis Hopper, and self-presenting as yet another damaged romantic who thinks it's always time to play the cowboy, skating in and out of sense. He can't see right, and he's haunted by nearly everything. He's trying to open up or shut himself down or at least get a hold of himself. He's trying to make do with what he's done, while he reminds us that we're all, one way or another, in that position.
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