Sidney Thompson – Sideshow

Books Reviews Sidney Thompson
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Sidney Thompson – Sideshow

I’m sorry, Bubba… your poodle has heartworms

Sidney Thompson’s depiction of the South will be familiar to many. Sideshow—his new collection of short stories—is filled with hunters, carnival-sideshow freaks and families broken by death and divorce. The twist on the tried-and-true is Thompson’s surprise here—this is the South seen more through the prism of R.E.M. than William Faulkner.

In “The Floater,” Larry is a redneck hunter whose dogs have died in a fire. With his money tight after a recent divorce, he heads to the pound to find a new dog. Much to his surprise, he brings home a poodle… with heartworms.

“The Voyeur” examines the changing face of family. Set in a thoroughly modern South, a teenager, Bruce, finds himself torn between love for his dad and his growing attraction to his mother. A southern woman enjoying her newfound freedom with gusto, she insists that he call her Joyce. Bruce begins to spy on her to see if he can discover the truth of her sexuality—and possibly his own.

Thompson’s prose rings simple and direct, his narrative quick and sure. His real gift, though, is an eye for the subtle emotional connections we universally share. And what this Alabama-based writer finds just below the surface of day-to-day existence is a notable discovery—a South to which we can all relate.