Continuing the gritty tone of Abrams' first novel, A Bad Piece of Luck, this collection of stories follows minimalism's true inspiration--Hemingway--in its choice of clean, quick metaphor and description, and in its baldly drawn characterization and dialogue. But then Abrams tosses in small grenades of surprise for us: an hallucinating man in starvation, fine--but with such an elaborate hallucination promising gypsy good fortune and a renewed life in death that we believe right along with Louie Sorrels. Or, let's say, a Florida palmetto tale mixing Mexicans, hard women, and good ol' boys in a fist-over-fist drinking atmosphere that suddenly turns into a delightful tall tale of escape and lust. Or a young boy at one moment laughing at his older sister's comic ineptitude during her driver's license exam, the next suddenly thrown into a battle with bulbar polio, then barely escape becoming an angel, as a nurse explains. The turns that these stories and characters make, combined with Abrams' honed prose, give this collection the luster of a good-luck buckeye, carried and loved for many years.
Used availability for Tom Abrams's The Drinking of Spirits
June 2000 : USA Hardback
June 2000 : USA Paperback
December 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition