by Tommy LeVrier

Disarmingly talented Tommy LeVrier has been compared to any number of the Southern Writers, individuals like Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and just about every one in between. Like the others in this unique American tradition, his work captures evocatively the local color, earthiness, and sensibility of the land and its people.

In this little collection of short stories, Tommy LeVrier makes things beautiful out of stuff easily overlooked, serving up a snapshot of life in rural East Texas and turning it into art.

Inspired by the true story of a visitor who came to the area on a hunting trip, LeVrier’s Donald Lee comes from a poor family in class-struggling South Peeveetoe, Texas – a town that just won’t let him forget that pedigree. One day, however, he happens on an idea so good, he thinks it bound to impress the folk down at the local cafe. For the first time, he figures, he will get the respect he deserves!

Enter LeVrier’s Yankee, the fellow who came to South Peeveetoe to hunt, hoping to attract deer by strapping antlers to his head. When he attached them to his head and rose from behind some bushes, he ended up catching buckshot instead of a deer – and point blank between the eyes! Unfortunately, however, when Donald Lee tells his version of the story, he does not quite get the response he was expecting!

By way of affectionate fictionalization of some family members, LeVrier presents us with colorful Fatty, a junk yard collector with a penchant for holding onto old stuff other people see as junk. The unwieldy habit is bearable, since his work is after all getting to collect things other people sell as scrap. With an artist’s eye for the difference between the to-be-disposed-of and antiques, Fatty’s collection grows and grows, as he takes in everything from antique tractors, to ditch diggers, to PT boats.

When E-Bay helps launch the age of collecting, Fatty throws himself into things with a vengeance. Along the lines of other characters whose lives are here fictionalized, Fatty moves beyond mere collecting and into an artist’s life – as a metal sculptor! Unfortunately, the whole enterprise begins to take over his life.