Jesus Out to Sea: Stories by James Lee Burke

jesusouttosea.jpgWhat seems like ages ago I received James Lee Burke’s short story collection Jesus Out to Sea.  I had not read any Burke – short story or novel.  But it looked intriguing so I put it in “the office” for reading material.

I have a hard time describing my reaction to it.  I enjoyed the various stories, but nothing really grabbed me.  In jotting down my thoughts for GoodReads I had this to say:

I have a feeling that if you have roots in the Gulf Coast this collection of essays might appeal to you. I enjoyed the stories but it seemed like the prose was a little florid or over-heated. Burke seems obsessed with weather at times and comes off as trying too hard to capture it.

Despite this, Burke paints an interesting and realistic picture of life in this part of the country for the blue-collar and struggling poor. It could be that his style just doesn’t resonate with me.

Looking back that seems a fair description.  The stories struck me as interesting evocations of a certain time and place but a little redundant and almost forced at times.  So put me in the mushy middle on this one.  I was interested enough to keep reading, but wasn’t impressed enough to seek out more from the author.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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