Brian Van Reet

“Big Two-Hearted Hunting Creek”

Received a Pushcart Prize special mention. First published in the Southern Review Vol. 45 #3. Anthologized in Fire and Forget.

From the Daily Beast’s review of Fire and Forget:

This is fiction as good as any you’ll read anywhere: take for example “Big Two-Hearted Hunting Creek” in which a vet with a major burn wound (“faceless” in more ways than one) seeks the same kind of solace that Hemingway’s Nick Adams found in his river, but sees the excursion quickly degenerate into a squadmate’s macabre show of PTSD. Like all of these stories, it works well as a piece of fiction but even better as a piece of reality. These pages contain a record of the cost of our excursions abroad that is as illustrative as any culture can produce.

From Peter Molin’s Time Now blog:

It’s a brutal, ugly tale, but great for all that.  Fully imagined and instantly memorable, Rooster and Sleed owe more to Flannery O’Connor’s grotesque purveyors of evil  in stories such as “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People” than Hemingway’s stoic Jake Barnes, the emasculated hero of The Sun Also Rises.  But lord let’s hope Van Reet really is trying to work the same black comic vein for which O’Connor is famous.  If  his rendering of the despair and self-loathing of badly-wounded soldiers is meant to be literally true and representative, then we’ve all got a lot to answer for.