by Terry Irving
OK, I'm a dumb white boy and there are times reading David Nicholson's book of stories that I feel as if I shouldn't keep reading. The accurate and nuanced portrayals of black life--and black life in the city I've lived in but have not been a real part of for 40 years--make me feel as if I should step back and stop trying to pretend I understand because that's simply impossible. But "Flying Home" is too good not to read, and reread, even if it's almost a guilty pleasure to catch a glimpse of other lives so different, it's like looking through a window at night when the blinds aren't completely closed. I can almost catch the real meaning of the music--jazz, blues, even Jimi Hendrix--that otherwise eludes me.
On the other hand, these are stories and language and lives that are just too damn good to pass up just because you have the misfortune not to be black in Washington DC. Or the fortune not to be black in Washington, DC. It's the same thing.
I hate short stories. Hate them. But I read these all twice and will probably read them again. They are beautifully written with the accurate cadence of the people who tell them--one or two of whom are even David Nicholson. Or parts of him at least.
Buy the book. Read the stories. I suspect that if you're black, you'll feel them speaking but I know that if you're white, you can at least hear echoes of real people in real places in a universe that exists right next to yours.
Damn! I really wish I could write like this!
Buy it here