Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club


by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Overview:Benjamin Alire Sáenz's stories reveal how all borders—real, imagined, sexual, human, the line between dark and light, addict and straight—entangle those who live on either side. Take, for instance, the Kentucky Club on Avenida Juárez two blocks south of the Rio Grande. It's a touchstone for each of Sáenz's stories. His characters walk by, they might go in for a drink or to score, or they might just stay there for a while and let their story be told. Sáenz knows that the Kentucky Club, like special watering holes in all cities, is the contrary to borders. It welcomes Spanish and English, Mexicans and gringos, poor and rich, gay and straight, drug addicts and drunks, laughter and sadness, and even despair. It's a place of rich history and good drinks and cold beer and a long polished mahogany bar. Some days it smells like piss. "I'm going home to the other side." That's a strange statement, but you hear it all the time at the Kentucky Club.

Faith Bowers (01/17/16): I didn't know they were short stories but I did know that the book was the Winner of the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and that is why I reserved the book. He is a wonderful writer examining all kinds of borders over the border towns of Juarez, Mexico and San Jose, USA. Loving abusive parents, missing parents, lovers and sisters, coming of age sexuality are all explored in these fast-paced can't-put-down stories. I have reserved the only other adult fiction in my library system by Saenz for more great reading.
Rating: *****

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