My Week at the Blue Angel

Excerpts from Rain Taxi’s review of Huntington Press author Matt O’Brien’s latest creative non-fiction title

Vol. 16 No. 2, Summer 2011 (#62)

by Jens Tamang

“O’Brien has an incredible eye for detail, made potently clear by his exploration of the city’s underground water drainage systems and the various characters who call it home. Combined with his allegiance to quoting others directly — makeing the collection, at times, a kind of oral history — O’Brien clearly situates himself in a genealogy of cold, hard journalism and documentary. But he never stays there. In fact, by giving narrative voice to his own desires and biases within each new social situation, O’Brien’s account of the city of fortune reveals his undying compassion and curiosity for its lost souls.

“O’Brien’s book invokes the fictional aspects of narrative by represneting reality in a mystified way. In this way, My Week at the Blue Angel offers itself up to infinite interpretation. One can read his stories as brutally honest portrayals of lost souls or as an allegory about what happens to a human (and humanity) when it is subsumed into an unfeeling capitalist machine, replete with poker chips, showgirls, birhg lights, and plenty of sewage.”

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