Not Your Grandmother's Sunday

I spent my Sunday reading Kevin Sampsell's A Common Pornography and watching Taxi Driver--while I don't necessarily recommend that particular combination to everyone, I do recommend you read A Common Pornography. Sampsell is a local Portland writer, long-time Powell's employee, and small press publisher (Future Tense Books). (Basically I want to be him.) His latest book, A Common Pornography, is a memoir told in snippets of prose--mostly linear--but each one also reads as complete short story.

It's an entirely fascinating way to tell a story--especially a memoir. Our memories work much more like snapshots than film reels, and we have to do a little connect-the-dots in between. But Sampsell's narrative still flows smoothly from one incident to the next, taking us from the complex pornography stash in his ceiling to the complicated relationship with his father in one swift bound. The leap frog narrative works for Sampsell, largely due to his consistent voice--it's reflective, subtle, and honest. He doesn't always explain his actions or try to psychoanalyze the past, but he gives small observations that lend a weight to even the lightest anecdotes and make you feel the need to re-read each one more closely.

Did I mention it's striking, hilarious, heartbreaking, and left me wanting more?

Want to know more about Sampsell, Future Tense, and A Common Pornography? Check out HTMLGIANT's seven day exposé, or click any of the links above.

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