Nathaniel Barber's power lies in telling the story without explicitly telling the story. His prose tugs at the seams, outlines the edges, and hints at a larger, more terrible truth beyond the surface of each piece. The reader is not welcomed through the front doors of the house, but led instead through a meandering path which offers us only furtive glimpses through the windows. There we find a lovingly rendered portrait of the author's complicated family, larger-than-life caricatures of actual band teachers, tenants, and co-workers, comedies and tragedies, all rolled up in what ultimately reads as a celebration of a life fraught with misadventures. These stories are wildly entertaining, yet they hum with a quieter magic, and though they are plucked from seemingly random times and places in the author's experience, there is a purpose to their order. In these stories, time is bent and folded and rearranged to highlight a narrative truth running through the pages. A room in France is stained with blood from a mosquito-killing spree, while in the next apartment, two stories over, the walls are stained with blood from an injured bird's rescue, and through this connection a heart-aching story of brotherhood begins to emerge. We are not shown everything, we don't need to know everything. We are shown enough. The light shines through in the end, illuminating the parts of the story that matter the most. Like a great jazz musician (I'm looking at you, Millson), Barber understands how to wield silence, the space between notes, to construct a hidden narrative which shimmers at the edges, just out of reach but beautiful nonetheless.
-Scapegoat, Amazon customer