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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • June 10th, 2014
  • 9780692222690 0692222693
  • 206 pages
  • $$10.00
Scott Miles
Author
The Downriver Horseshoe
Scott Miles, author
THE DOWNRIVER HORSESHOE draws its stories from the landscapes and people of the industrial, south side of Metro Detroit called Downriver. It is Americana with a gritty, blue-collar twist—filled with quirky, rough-hewn characters like Duke Peterson, a retired cookie-truck driver who, at the behest of his nasty, invalid wife, has to hock his grandfather’s old shotguns to make rent; there is George Rimbaud, a morally confused mailman who continually crosses the line and intertwines his life (and sex life) with people along his route; and also Simon Touhy, a young man who falls in love with a prosthetic leg found at his worksite on Mt. Trashmore, a landfill converted to public ski slope. With the luck and pride of Downriver at their side, these men march on, making the best decisions they can in an area that can be bleak and beautiful and dangerous on the same block. All of the stories have previously appeared in nationally distributed magazines such as LIT, Cimarron Review, Storyglossia, Beloit Fiction Journal, The MacGuffin, Atticus Review, Crime Factory, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Thieves Jargon, Avatar Review, and Pebble Lake Review.
Reviews
In this compelling collection of 11 stories by a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Miles gives readers a voyeuristic look into the lives of cursed characters from the industrial south side of Detroit, known as Downriver. In “Fungoo’s Hockshop,” downtrodden Duke Peterson would rather go to prison than back home to his invalid wife. Simon Touhy, who works on a ski hill converted from a landfill in “Mt. Trashmore,” falls in love with a woman’s prosthetic leg that he finds in the snow. In “Stripped,” a harmless gesture by two warehouse buddies at a strip club turns lethal, and the husbands/fathers in “Altoona” and “Losing Focus”—one returning from a rotten family vacation, the other recovering from testicular cancer—struggle between domestic obligations and the urge to flee, with radically different outcomes. Miles writes tight sentences, with genuine dialogue and unexpected imagery (one man’s eyes are “the color of laundry detergent”). The women in these stories play cursory roles, pushing plots to ensure the cynicism and darkness of the male protagonists. Miles frequently writes in the first person, lending greater intimacy to stories that consistently ring true. (BookLife)
Lindsay Denninger, The Summerset Review

It's widely known that Detroit's heyday has been over for quite some time, with the decline of the city's auto industry and its filing for bankruptcy. It's thought of as a city of crime and poverty, largely forgotten by the rest of the country, but what about the people who still live there? In The Downriver Horseshoe, Summerset Review contributor Scott Miles (his story "Ćupco" appeared in our Summer 2009 issue) analyzes the lives of the inhabitants of the Downriver neighborhood of Detroit, located on the metropolis' south side.

 

Miles' prose is brutal, but in the best way possible. His brutality isn't sheer violence and brawn, it is a new take on the situations and places that his characters find themselves in. Darkly funny and original, Miles has the talent to make the reader feel for characters who are in and of themselves pretty despicable (as in "When You're The Mailman," where a postal worker reveals that he doesn't exactly spend his days delivering mail). Miles analyzes aspects of the human condition like love (in "Mt. Trashmore," a dump worker named Simon Touhy finds himself enamored with a prosthetic leg he finds in the trash) and ennui (in "Freezer Burn," which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, two friends are forced to contemplate the listlessness of their daily lives) and upends them, forcing us to contemplate these own things within us. Could we feel the way these characters feel? Their eroded humanity causes a great deal of self-reflection.

Though each of the stories has previously appeared in nationally published magazines like LIT, Cimarron Review, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, and Pebble Lake Review, they feel fresher, newer, here when strung together like popcorn kernels on a thread. When read consecutively, their gravity deepens, and the story of the city Miles loves so is better portrayed. The Downriver Horseshoe is better than a love letter—it is a testament of the people and city, warts and all, that Miles so adores.

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • June 10th, 2014
  • 9780692222690 0692222693
  • 206 pages
  • $$10.00

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