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A brilliant talent gone too soon. Breece D'J Pancake.
November 7, 2008 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Transcripts of a troubled mind tells the life and times of Breece D'J Pancake, a brilliant young writer from South Charleston, West Virginia. In a raw, stripped down style, much of his work focused on the people and the language of the Appalachia He committed suicide at the age of 29 and left behind a small, but powerful collection of stories
posted by scarello (22 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. I was just talking about this book today. We read it recently in our book club (after a few people raved about it) and I have to say that I wasn't impressed. The stories are spare, the characters are unmemorable, and he seems to be trying too hard to be like some other writer (probably a cross between Carver and Faulkner). The guy has a sad and compelling life story, but in my humble opinion, the writing does not live up to the hype.
posted by mattbucher at 1:37 PM on November 7, 2008


I'd recommend Breece D'J Pancake's stories as a antidote to stuff like David Foster Wallace.
posted by cropshy at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2008


I don't read much 'literature', but this writing was exactly the kind I like. Is there a word for it? Thanks for the post.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2008


There was an awesome piece about Pancake in my favorite magazine ever the Believer. I think he's very good.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2008


I was really disappointed, but maybe that's because the first page had Joyce Carol Oates comparing him to Hemingway, and he never delivered.
posted by aliceinreality at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2008


My God, I wish my last name was Pancake.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:17 PM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


thanks for the post.
posted by ms.jones at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2008


"Astro Pancake"? "Astro D'J Pancake"?

Either way, yeah. Has a nice ring to it.
posted by ardgedee at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2008


I wish my last name was Zombie.
posted by bookish at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2008


Nah, people always ask if you're related to Rob. And then act disappointed when you tell them you're related to Judd Hirsch.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:05 PM on November 7, 2008


Another writer to check out. Thanks for this!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:08 PM on November 7, 2008


I read all that Amazon will let me. He's pretty good, despite the fact that the story was written in the first-person present, which seems dated and was always ugly. There's something about his clipped style that works, though.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:23 PM on November 7, 2008


Not important, but he was only 26.
posted by tula at 3:43 PM on November 7, 2008


Gaaah, how did I mess that up? There is a reason I failed math...thanks for the correction tula. Perhaps admin can fix this? Glad everyone enjoyed the post.
posted by scarello at 3:47 PM on November 7, 2008


"Chester was smarter than any shithouse mouse because Chester got out before the shit began to fall. But Chester had two problems: number one, he became a success, and number two, he came back. These are not your average American problems like drinking , doping, fucking or begin fucked, because Rock Camp, West Virginia is not your average American problem maker, nor is it your average hillbilly town.

You have never broken a mirror or walked under ladders or celebrated St. Paddy's day if you have never heard of Rock Camp, but you might have lost a wheel, fallen off a biplane wing, or crossed yourself left-handedly if you have. The three latter methods are the best ways to get into Rock Camp, and any viable escape is unknown to anybody but Chester and he is unavailable for comment.

It was while Archie Moore -- the Governor, not the fighter -- was in his heyday that the sweet tit of the yellow rose of Texas rand dry, forcing millions of Americans down to the survival speed of 44 mph. I have heard it said that Georgians are unable to drive in snow and that Arizonans go bonkers behind the wheel in the rain but not true-blooded West Virginia boy would ever do less than 120 mph on a straight stretch, because those runs are hard won in a land where road maps resemble a barrel of worms with St. Vitus' dance."
posted by jason's_planet at 4:00 PM on November 7, 2008


(55 mph for 44. sorry)
posted by jason's_planet at 4:00 PM on November 7, 2008


> I was really disappointed, but maybe that's because the first page had Joyce Carol Oates comparing him to Hemingway, and he never delivered.

Their stories are not too similar, but the conclusions bear a strong resemblance.
posted by ardgedee at 4:57 PM on November 7, 2008


My God, I wish my last name was Pancake.
When I was in the bookstore buying his collection of stories, some guy came up to me and tried to make a sexual innuendo involving the word pancake.
posted by Airhen at 6:51 PM on November 7, 2008


Joyce Carol Oates is a tool. But she was, indeed, right about the conclusions.

Unfortunately, thanks to this surprise reminder of one of my all time faves who I totally heart, and someone who leaves me cold, I find myself wondering if ol' Breece left as many nude photos as Papa, and where one might find 'em.

I'm going to hell for that. But I'm not a guy and did not slime up to Airhen at the bookstore.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:18 PM on November 7, 2008


Huh. I've had him on my "should probably read" list for at least a year. This might spur me along.
posted by saturnine at 8:38 PM on November 7, 2008


Read the collection about 10 years ago loved it. Just recommended it to a friend 2 weeks ago. Would recommened here to you for what it is worth. Thanks for the post scarello.
posted by therubettes at 10:05 AM on November 8, 2008


I find myself wondering if ol' Breece left as many nude photos as Papa, and where one might find 'em.

Nude Hemingway.

Well, guess I'm skipping lunch today after all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:12 AM on November 8, 2008


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