Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany

Escape Velocity A Charles Portis Miscellany Charles Portis writer of fiction has here short pieces essays memoirs articles and the new play Delray s New Moon Topics cover civil rights road trips in Baja and Elvis s visits to his aging m

Charles Portis, writer of fiction, has here short pieces, essays, memoirs, articles, and the new play Delray s New Moon Topics cover civil rights, road trips in Baja, and Elvis s visits to his aging mother Also tributes by authors such as Donna Tartt and Ron Rosenbaum.

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Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany

  1. Charles McColl Portis was born in 1933, in El Dorado Arkansas and was raised in various towns in southern Arkansas He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean war and after his discharge in 1955 attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville He graduated with a degree in journalism in 1958.His journalistic career included work at the Arkansas Gazette before he moved to New York to work for The New York Herald Tribune After serving as the London bureau chief for the The New York Herald Tribune, he left journalism in 1964 and returned to Arkansas to write novels.He currently lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

687 Reply to “Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany”

  1. There is no one like Charles Portis in American letters.He wrote five novels, all of which are revered in different orders of preference by his ardent fans Perhaps a main reason for this is simply that they are funny Not just funny, as in amusing, but laugh out loud funny I say this obviously as one who finds his writing singularly appealing There is a quirky exactness in the dialogue and descriptions which is his alone, and makes this reader feel fortunate to have encountered his books.I m not [...]


  2. Anyone who would consider picking this miscellany up is almost by definition a Portis die hard already, but although it wouldn t make a very good introduction to his work for a newbie, it s still worth a read if you ve already plowed through all five of his novels According to the Introduction, this was born out of a collection that a Portis superfan who like me was first introduced to him through The Dog of the South had been slowly accumulating in a file cabinet, which is impressive considerin [...]


  3. Escape Velocity A Charles Portis Miscellany 2012 edited by Jay Jennings might only be of interest to those of what Ron Rosenbaum calls, from his essay included in the appendix Our Least Known Great Novelist, the Society of Portis This and two other seminal essays, Roy Blount Jr s Comedy in Earnest and Ed Park s comprehensive Like Cormac McCarthy, but Funny, extolling the virtues of the prose of Charles Portis In fact Park uses many of the miscellany included in this book to tell the story of the [...]



  4. Actual rating 3.5 stars.There s not a lot out there for die hard Charles Portis fans The five novels are thankfully back in print, but that s it, because that s all he s written Other than, that is, a few hard to find short stories, a brief memoir, a play, and newspaper reportage from his days as a working journalist.Editor Jay Jenkins has tracked down and assembled these short pieces in this anthology It s must reading for Portis fans I certainly felt it was a must read, at any rate but it s an [...]


  5. One of the joys of reading Charles Portis is that he has written only five books, and all of them are superb You can pretty much dip your fishing line in anywhere and catch something great The sadness of it is that the pleasure is very self contained once you ve read them all, you ll never get to read them for the first time again The mystery of watching these disparate tales unfold, most of them markedly different from the other, will add a lot of enjoyment to your life, but once you ve finishe [...]


  6. This was my first Portis book and I m guessing I should have started with another of his I didn t come running back to this book, like dragged to finish it.


  7. I read the Charles Portis novels, and enjoyed them, so I was eager to read his shorter works They did not disappoint I can definitely see his influence on Dave Barry, in so many ways his columns and his novels have the same madcap perspectives People who enjoy Dave Barry, give Charles Portis a try.


  8. Note I did not read from the 25th of June until the 15th of July.Escape Velocity is fine miscellany of Portis s work, and includes several insightful essays on his novels by various admirers His rare play Delray s New Moon is included it s an extremely funny work that ought to be performed A memoir, Combinations of Jacksons sheds light on the elusive author s early life and family history His short stories range from the hilarious Damn to Nights Can Turn Cool in Viborra to the haunting I Don t [...]


  9. Masie Cochran Associate Editor, Tin House Books I m partial to Portis, party because he s from Arkansas, earning his journalism degree in my hometown of Fayetteville The title of the collection comes from my favorite Portis novel, Dog of the South A lot of people leave Arkansas and most of them come back sooner or later They can t quite achieve escape velocity Portis newspaper reporting and writing has been, so far, the biggest treat He covers the death of Elvis Presley s mother, a hospital s an [...]


  10. I enjoyed this in parts, but mostly, I was left wanting Portis news reporting is interesting, not only for the material, but for how clearly his voice rings out, even as he is documenting events rather than creating characters and stories His travel writing, too, reads like fiction The short stories and memoir are probably the highlights of the book, although the stories are perhaps too short The play did not grab me at all perhaps it works better on stage, but on the page it was a surprising st [...]


  11. When my dog was a puppy, she chewed two or three library books so severely that they could not be repaired and I had to pay for them My dog has exceptional taste because she chewed up only Charles Portis books I ve read three of his five novels Norwood, The Dog of the South and True Grit each of which I consider a classic, so I was excited to get my hands on Escape Velocity The book is accurately labeled as a miscellany because it contains a little bit of everything straight reporting, longer es [...]


  12. I ve been a Portis fan since the late 60 s, so I m glad I bought this book It s a must read for all Portis fans, because he s only written 5 novels and we ve all read those backwards and forwards, right This gives us hungry fans a chance to read his past essays, short stories and a play It is true, Charles Portis is one of the best writers of our time, and the most under recognized Not because he s reclusive Refreshingly, he s a modest man and doesn t toot his own horn He s not a slave to market [...]


  13. Portis is mind blowingly readable Even his early journalistic pieces here resonate with characters that jump off the page and details that put you right in the scene His travel stories are my favorite here Would love to do a tour of Route 66 with him Is there still hope that he will publlsh another novel I will re read the play here, Delray s New Moon , ten years from now to give me courage with the aging process The ending may be a bit pat, but the characters aren t and the writing has dozens o [...]


  14. I m in the Portis fan club Norwood is one of the funniest novels I have ever read period Though Portis droll wit, his spot on presentation of southern dialogue, and his eye for mid 2oth century southern culture does not strike everyone as so funny This collection of his work takes you deeper into Portis complete work journalism, occasional pieces, interviews , and tells a lot about the writer as person Portis has been fairly reclusive as a fiction writer For my money, I d stick with Norwood, Tr [...]


  15. Kind of disappointed in myself for not liking this as much as I thought I would Though there were some great bits, like his coverage of the civil rights movement desegregation in the American South in the 60s, the Elvis bit, and the short story I Don t Talk Service No More But a lot of it also left me cold the Nashville stuff, Your Action Line, and that history of the rivers in the south I could give or take I don t know I keep telling myself I m not done with this book and that I ll come back t [...]


  16. I get frustrated when I can t figure out why I laugh at Charles Portis humor Maybe it s because I somehow relate to it I about did a spit take on page 153 of my 1st edition copy of this book What s frustrating is wondering why other people might not understand why Charles Portis is so funny I m still reading and only half way through but this book already gets 5 stars Some of it I don t get but maybe will after a re read.


  17. This is a book for people who have read everything by Charles Portis and now their whole world is kind of empty and they see this and they buy it knowing it is going to slightly disappoint, and it does, but it s better than nothing The ebook version, which is what I have, is horribly formatted I m getting so tired of paying full price for a book that hasn t been copy edited But that s not Portis fault.


  18. Certainly, for me, an intriguing introduction to Portis It s a mixed bag, short fiction, a play, journalism, a lengthy interview, so perhaps not the most gripping read overall too easy to put down and not pick up again for a while But having really enjoyed True Grit, this book certainly adds to the incentive to seek out those other four novels As an encouragement to newcomers to Portis, it definitely does its job.


  19. As a fan of Portis, I was happy to get my hands on anything he s written and this collection of his newspaper and magazine articles and even a play was an enjoyable read Highlights for me was his article from Westways magazine describing his journey from Los Angeles to the tip of Baja California in a decrepit Studebaker pickup truck and the semi autobiographical Combinations of Jacksons , which you can read for yourself here goo zABVs


  20. This is it this is the guy to beat The peerless writer The Bard of Little Rock His reportage on the murder of Medgar Evers, the beautiful, possibly neo Confederate Combinations of Jacksons, the travel stories through Baja California and America s motels You fools who would anoint people like Philip Roth You don t deserve Charles Buddy Portis


  21. To know Charles Portis writing is to love Charles Portis writing Don t start here if you haven t read at least one of his other books, then you ll certainly read them all, then you ll end up with this excellent collection My favorite part was his reporting from the South, including sections on Elvis, and a series of articles on run down motels that are worth the price of this book alone.


  22. This assemblage of Portis s work by Jan Jennings is indispensable for accessing much of Portis s other writings His travelogues are astonishing for their ability to combine exquisite details with a good story.


  23. Portis writing has this beautiful simplicity Reading his non fiction work for the first time, it s obvious that this detailed efficiency that carried over into his fiction owed a debt to his years as a reporter and feature writer It s well worth your attention.


  24. If you haven t read any Portis, I d recommend starting with the novels I d go with The Dog of the South That being said, this is a pretty great collection, with many pieces that haven t been re published in years, and one his play Delray s New Moon that is available for the first time.





  25. Great stuff It often got me to break out laughing so I really could read it in public.I ve got NORWOOD and MASTERS OF ATLANTIS on reserve at the KCPL I ll pick them upon Friday.


  26. one of the best writers sarcastic and funny but self deprecating he doesn t use his writing to eviscerate anyone he just seems to like people, and it s really refreshing and hilarious.


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