We’ve Already Gone This Far
Stories by Patrick Dacey
In a fictional Massachusetts/New England working class town, Patrick Dacey presents a landscape both emotional, fragile and full. His characters endow themselves with a three dimensional quality and breathes life into every single one. Each story encapsulates the microcosm of life at its hardest and its best, and We’ve Already Gone This Far superbly rests on its laurels. This is one of the best debuts I’ve read and one of the dearest. It is difficult to pen a novel that prompts our hearts to rage and flutter, but short stories are an art form.
From his beginning quote at the start of the book, Dacey promises what he presents:
“The strangeness of life, the more you resisted it, the harder it bore down on you.” Saul Bellow
In Friend of Mine, we meet an aged and cynical has been high school coach, Coach Linnehan. The story is told by one of his now adult former high school football players, Mac, who is now Linnehan’s neighbor. As Mac sits outside his porch, he watches two rabbits playing on Linnehan’s lawn. Suddenly Linnehan comes out and shoots the rabbits, and Mac is horrified.
As Dacey spins his magic, Linnehan and Mac decide to shave a beer and reminisce about “the good times back there.” Only the good times back there are now the bad times right here. Loneliness, luck or the lack thereof, and compassion surround the pair as they become human beings instead of clichés. When the day ends, Mac and Coach Linnehan have entered the world where they are simply guys doing the best that they can, and helping each other live.
Dacey’s brilliance is not in his plots, but in his style. He throws out grace and precision in every single story, and his characters never make a wrong move. With sentences that pulsate and provoke without pretense, We’ve Already Gone This Far is authentic and real.
In thirteen short stories, everyday life and everyday people find a way to embrace the magic of connection amongst loss and the constant demise of promise and dreams. Each story is a slice of human music with the treble and clef of hope.
I loved it.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A”
We received a product to facilitate our review. All opinions are our own
We’ve Already Gone This Far: Stories is available at Amazon.com and other booksellers.