The Review of Contemporary Fiction reviews Andrew Zornoza's Where I Stay

 

The Review of Contemporary Fiction includes a lovely review of Andrew Zornoza’s Where I Stay:

Where I Stay opens with a description of a stark landscape in movement: grain, threshers, wind, a hand raised in wave from a tractor, a girl who appears and disappears in the same instant; a barren image of an America we all know or have seen in a photograph. The few humans who populate this land acknowledge the narrator with minimal gesture, interpolating the poised but desperate voice that will insistently, though always somewhat privately, lead us through a road trip squarely situated between the ethos of Jack Kerouac and Walker Evans. Where I Stay is a novel of almost pure voice, told in diaristic fragments coupled with photographs whose captions are drawn from other moments in the time of the narrative. Here, nothing is anchored. Even the black borders of the photographs, those supposed documents of a reality experienced, are themselves unhinged and moving on a trajectory. The story, barely narrative, told to us by this voice, is of a young man moving aimlessly through an America moving violently through him. In and out of cars, of the arms of lovers, looking for someone he lost, for a moment of rest, the novel slides, falters and picks itself up again in the margins, the out of frame, the side of the road, the memory, the coming word. A year passes, days and weeks omitted, blank spaces where the lives of criminals, kind families, abandoned dogs and factory workers continue to be lived. By the end of this short novel, the voice of the narrator, not surprisingly, is failing. Those who filled his world he can now find “only in the cracks.” The novel, in danger of never being written, becomes a letter, composed to one who may never receive it, for they may also have moved on, pulled by some love, some violence, some journey. But we, for the moment, are here, resting a bit before the next move.