This collection of Barry Hannah's work, while not as wide-ranging as his seminal work "Bats Out of Hell," is a must-have for anyone who is interested in enjoying short fiction that does not read like the author is trying to package stories in a small, neat package with verbal flourishes that show us his or her genius.
Hannah's short stories reflect life, which is to say that they are messy, chaotic, loud, confusing, drunk, and sexual. He writes with the passion of someone who embraces human existence and would rather go down with the ship than jump into the lifeboat and write a tidy memoir when he's all dried off.
"Testimony of Pilot," a story in this collection, is, in my opinion, one of the best short stories ever written, regardless of time frame, nationality, etc. Here, within the structure of a short story, Hannah does more than most writers can in a novel in terms of being able to capture the passage of a man from childhood through adulthood. His narrative techniques allow him to capture human essence in quick snapshots and as such he's able to cram a lot of life into just a few pages. It's a story of tragedy and beauty and America, and this one story alone is worth the price of the book.