Review by Dan Denton: Clown Gravy by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Misti Rainwater-Lites is one of the best writers alive, and in Clown Gravy, she out greats many of the great indie underground writers that so many of us hold in reverence, like Bukowski. Like Buk, Misti writes about the sweat, bruises and loneliness that living a misunderstood misfit life brings, but unlike Buk, she does it kamikaze style, never afraid to crash her characters in a pursuit of the truth that’s brave, but somehow never reckless.

Clown Gravy is written in short story and flash fiction style, but reads like punk jazz poetry that was written at a Texas bus stop on a too hot summer day, when your life starts to scroll by in the steam-mirage that rises from oil-slick asphalt, and your off brand can of cola is slowly collapsing and suddenly warm and flat like the worn out pick up lines being lobbed from every direction, and from every leering, jeering too big dick, hairy or not.

The book has 13 stories, all of them so goddamned good you feel like you found your new favorite record that plays on repeat. Some of them are fables, full of anecdotes for the struggling outcast. One is a post apocalyptic tarot card prophesy that’s so fucking perfect that I read it four times in a row. A truly great American short story. Throughout, no American taboo is safe, as Rainwater-Lites stares down most every sickness and malady known to modern man, including the ones most never talk about and pretend don’t exist, but she writes about them so well that you’ll read this book again and again, and hug it forever in your hangdog heart.

Dan Denton

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