Brad Watson: Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
Deep South stories and getting deeper
Brad Watson may live in Laramie, Wyo. these days, but the Mississippi native remains as Southern as kudzu. With his latest, the prize-winning short-story writer (Last Days of the Dog-Men) and National Book Award finalist (The Heaven of Mercury) offers 12 new stories mostly set in (or in the spirit of) home state.
Watson has a sly hand with a short story. A piece like table-setter “Vacuum” rattles the giggle box. The title tale lands from outer space, complete with aliens dressed like your Aunt Nette and Uncle Bobby. “Fallen Nellie,” the tale of a female corpse, rode hard and put up wet, is uncomfortably memorable.
After notable 2009 collections by Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout and others, a Christian Science Monitor essay recently suggested 2009 was “the year of the short story.” Aliens shows we’re still its age of excellence.