Q: Could you put this book down?
A: No, I could not. I could not put this book down.
Q: Why is it you couldn’t put this book down? Can you put your finger on the reason?
A: I think there are many reasons. The stories fizz with interesting characters and premises; the dialogue is sharp and funny. I especially loved the surface mundanity of some of the conflict: one character is hounded by a flag whipping in the wind; another by the constant ineptitude of her husband waterskiing; and yet another by a lost set of keys. Crawley takes a thread, an innocuously loose piece of fabric, and then pulls on it and pulls on it and pulls on it.
Q: What’s your favorite story in this collection?
A: “Gone, Gone, Gone.” I’ve read this one a few times, and what I love most is Crawley’s evocation of the lonely winter road cutting through the pines. There is narrative, but the imagery and the quiet way this piece unfolds really transports me: “Rolling knolls of powder, the tall evergreen forest crowding both sides of the two-lane highway, drooping branches weighted with snow, the flipped over Ford Bronco, its rusted back end nestled on a drift just off the highway.”
Q: That was a good line. Any others that really stuck with you?
A: Oh, yes, so many fantastic lines. Crawley has an eye and an ear for language. Also, a heart and funny bone. For me, the stand-out line in this whole collection comes from the title story: “Lasko held up a spatula in his grip tightly. ‘Someone needs to do something here.’”
Q: Ah, the brilliant futility of a spatula. Do you have any final words on this collection?
A: I just recommend that people get this book and support a great independent press like Cowboy Jamboree. Also, there is a character called Gleve in one of the stories. Gleve! Have you ever heard of such a name?
Order here: The Wind, It Swirls by Dan Crawley
Jonathan Cardew’s chapbook, A World Beyond Cardboard (ELJ Editions) is forthcoming in 2022. His work has appeared in Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Cleaver Magazine, Cream City Review, and many other publications. He was a finalist in the Best Small Fictions 2016, and The Wigleaf Top 50 2017. He runs the MicroViews column at Bending Genres. Originally from the UK, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.