Saturday, May 11, 2013
My Review of Austin Nights by Herocious and/or the new ending to Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
Austin Nights also reminded me of the best parts of the film Blue Valentine by Derek Cianfrance. The shifting back and forth in story is a great device but it works best when a clear theme is followed as in Austin Nights and Slaughter House Five. As a matter of fact, this book almost seemed like Bizarro Blue Valentine. Where in Blue Valentine the drama almost seemed forced. And as viewers we were forgiving of that melodrama cause we were so satisfied with the brilliant happy scenes with Ryan Gosling courting Michelle Williams with a ukulele. But in Austin Nights there was no jarring moments between scenes like going from an extremely happy scene to a sad scene. So almost imagine Blue Valentine if shit hadn't gone down the way it had. Austin Nights is Blue Valentine without the forced drama. So if you loved Blue Valentine for its happy moments and hated the ending, you should run and buy Austin Nights. Who didn't want Ryan Gosling to man up, stop his drinking and become a responsible husband and step father? And what would have been so wrong with that being the ending of the movie? Picture Ryan Gosling going to AA meetings and then taking an hour long drive for a job interview that goes just okay and then on the way back to his family he gets a flat and the closest establishment is a bar where he has to go in to borrow a phone for a tow truck. So Ryan calls the tow truck and he takes a seat cause it's gonna be a while and it's raining outside. So the bartender naturally offers him a drink and Ryan Gosling stops and smiles for a second, and without saying it, we, as the viewers know what he's thinking about and he politely declines the bartender and asks for a piece of apple pie. Pie says the bartender? Yes, do you have apple pie? Or any kind of pie? As a matter of fact we have Cherry Pie, will that do for you? Yes, let me get some cherry pie. The End.
It also felt like Davidson wrote his own perfect version of On the Road for his narrator's sentimental look at the world and naivete reminded me a lot of Sal Paradise. Both On the Road and Austin Nights are full of sentimental love but the latter never gets too sentimental. Michael keeps it in check and that's a good thing. The same love of America can be found in Austin Nights. The same optimism for our one saving grace that is our multicultural society.
There were also many excerpts in Austin Nights that reach Jack Saunders greatness and can go toe to toe (no pun intended) with the great Florida writer. It's refreshing to read a love story where the main character is the love and not the problems surrounding it. Who knew there would be people like Michael Davidson to write books like these?
In closing, like Proust long before him, Michael Davidson is allowing intimacy to become an art form and that is a beautiful thing. Austin Nights is a book for the careful reader that hates noisy prose. It is a quiet book that makes a loud statements about the everyday moments we take for granted and the ones that matter most. There are no literary tricks or monsters or serial killers just a couple in love and a temperamental cat and the city of Austin, Texas. It's the equivalent of an angel whispering in your ears: it's the little things my friend, the little things.
Austin Nights is published by Tiny TOE Press and is available for purchase here in a hand-pressed with linocut cover version or for your Kindle: