Review by Laura Novak: St. James Infirmary by Steven Meloan

St. James Infirmary
by Steven Meloan

This collection of essays might have been called Postcards From the Edge, had that title not already been taken. As a child of the 60s, a young adult in San Francisco in the 80’s, and a transplant to California, and ultimately LA, I can say with certitude that St. James Infirmary captures the zeitgeist of each time and place with stunning and riveting accuracy. The writing is so clean, tight, and evocative, I felt like I was on each journey with the author. It’s not so much the details of the era or area, though Meloan was spot on with his writing, as much as the aura, the feeling, the sensibilities of the characters involved that he nailed with evocative prose. To wit, this was the way frustrated mothers talked. This was the way teens sassed. This was the way young men navigated love, lust, and loss. Lies, loneliness, even the restless energy of youth, are captured in technicolor with sharp, precise prose and pitch perfect creativity. I wasn’t ready for St. James Infirmary to end. I wanted more—more stories of Meloan’s life, but also more memories for myself of what it was to be in those places at those times of life. As writer Westley Heine notes in the book’s Foreward, the collection is about a rock and roll attitude and some pangs of regret. My only regret is that the collection ended too soon.

Laura Novak
Author of Finding Clarity and Murder at the Mailbox

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