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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Wire to Wire (Tin House New Voice)

by

Wire to Wire (Tin House New Voice) Cover

ISBN13: 9781935639053
ISBN10: 1935639056
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"In Michael Slater's world, fate is delivered atop a moving freight train. It comes in the form of a live electrical wire that smacks him in the head while he attempts to smoke a joint.

'The power line kissed his forehead. It lit him up like a torch and lit the joint with 33,000 volts, but Slater never had a chance to inhale.'

So begins Wire to Wire, Portland writer Scott Sparling's smart, thrilling and darkly funny debut novel. It reportedly took Sparling more than 20 years to write this book, but it reads like lightning." Doug Baldwin, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Wire to Wire assembles a cast of train-hopping, drug-dealing, glue-huffing lowlifes, tells a harrowing tale of friendship and loss, and creates a stunning portrait of Northern Michigan in the late 1970s.

While riding a freight car through Detroit, Michael Slater suffers a near-fatal accident — a power line to the head. After recovering, he tries to lead a quiet life in the desert, but his problems just follow him. Slater returns to his native Michigan to seek out his old train-hopping pal, only to find that the Pleasant Peninsula of his youth is none too pleasant. Before long he finds his way into a love triangle, gets caught in the schemes of the resident drug lord, and manages to end up on the wrong side of everyone and everything in the small town of Wolverine. When the violent sociopath Slater left to die in the desert tracks him down, the chance of getting out of this hell unscathed starts to look slim.

Three years later, Slater sits in a dark video-editing suite, popping speed like penny candy, trying to reconcile himself with the unfilmed memories that haunt his screens and his conscience.

Scott Sparling's debut novel, with echoes of Robert Stone and Denis Johnson, pays homage to one of our most popular and enduring genres — the American crime novel.

Review:

"When rail rider Michael Slater gets smacked in the head by a power line while riding a train through Detroit, it sets his life on a course no boxcar could follow. A few years later, working as a speed-popping video editor in New York, Slater is cursed with watching his past unfold on the screens in his editing suite. He watches the story of his fellow stowaway Harp Maitland and how the two of them — along with a cast of characters torn from an especially good police procedural — outrun drug dealers, crooked cops, and smalltown creeps without ever being particularly sympathetic: as Slater concludes, 'the doomed... have no need for guilt.' Sparling's debut is well crafted and thrilling, tying together an obvious love for both Michigan and railroads with an expert sense of timing and plot. The world he has created is both overwhelming and exhilarating, thanks in no small part to a large ensemble of memorable characters and a relentless pace. Indeed, hardly a page goes by without some sort of fantastic calamity throwing Slater and company into further turmoil — when the most peaceful passages of the story are speed-addled, that's saying something — but it's done so well that hopping off this runaway train would never cross a reader's mind. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"In the tradition of the great noir novels, Wire to Wire, is really something. Like being in a stolen car with no brakes in a world of train hopping, sex, violence, and drugs. It's all edge from start to finish." Willy Vlautin

Review:

"Scott Sparling writes like a man on fire, and Wire to Wire is the wickedly brilliant crime novel forged in the white-hot heat of his talent. It's an electrifying debut by a writer who knows the wrong side of town like the back if his hand. People, if there is a God, this book will win prizes." Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

About the Author

Scott Sparling grew up near railroad tracks in Southern Michigan and later attended Antioch College. Wire to Wire is his first novel. Large portions of it were written in Northern Michigan, Seattle, Portland, and in a tree house near Sucker Lake. He now lives outside Portland, Oregon with his wife and son.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Jon Bell, March 25, 2013 (view all comments by Jon Bell)
An exciting and engaging book that drew me in immediately. The characters seem so real, and despite the fact that they are all so obviously flawed from the get-go -- drugs, crime, betrayal -- you cannot help but care about them, back them, stay with them so you find out what happens to them. Sparling's writing is fresh and fast, and as someone with a deep connection to Michigan and especially the area that Wire to Wire is set in, I felt like I was right there all along, walking through the town streets, gazing out over the lake, listening to seedy classic rock cover bands and downing cheap beers in the local watering hole. Fantastic. This one is getting shared. A lot.
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W S Krauss, September 10, 2012 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
What happens to Michael Slater when his forehead accidently comes into contact with a power line? He pushes his friend from the moving boxcar they are standing on, ends up in Arizona in rehab for a brain injury, hallucinates, accidently gets involved in criminal activity, and drives across country back to his home state of Michigan after nearly killing a man. And that's just for starters. Then the real story begins. Populated with losers, cops, burnouts, users and dealers, Slater's story jumps from Michigan to Arizona to New York and back to Michigan. Keep up! It's a wild ride!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Diane Prokop, May 3, 2011 (view all comments by Diane Prokop)
Dark Side of the Tracks

Scott Sparling’s debut novel “Wire To Wire” is a dark panoramic view full of fleeting nightmares and bad memories racing across the electrified brain of Michael Slater. That’s because while riding atop a train through Detroit his head meets a power line that almost kills him. The “electricity used Slater’s body as a raceway, entering at his forehead and shooting through his feet, rearranging the molecules as it went.” After having his skull cut open and surgically retooled, his perspective is changed forever.
A few years later, he’s working as a video editor in New York in a cubicle with nothing to keep him company but speed and the visions of his past that insist on unfolding on the screens of his editing suite over and over and over again.
Slater recalls scenes from the desert when he was trying to live a regular life after recovering from his accident. In no time at all, he is sleeping with someone else’s girl and running from a psycho back to Wolverine, Michigan where he falls in again with his fellow train-hopping friend Harp. Harp’s girlfriend, Lane, is too much of a temptation to pass on and that creates a juicy love triangle. Soon Slater gets pulled into Lane’s brother’s nefarious ways and once again he is running for his life.
The story is classic noir fiction full of drug dealers, crooked cops, and glue-huffing losers. Sparling uses the train as a vehicle for moving the plot and the characters through a story that follows Slater and Harp through Northern Michigan’s bleak wasteland. “There was woe spread all over Northern Michigan. They’d seen plenty on the road into town. Abandoned farmhouses in fields of purple wildflowers. Rusting double-wides with big cars in front. A long stretch of fence posts where no fence remained. And the signs. Stump blasting. Worms for sale. I do drywall. People piecing their lives together.”
The characters are pitiful, but some are sympathetic as well - especially Slater who one feels is always on the verge of doing the right thing but never quite manages to pull it off. Stuff just keeps happening to him.
Murders, train-hopping getaways, and speed-addled lowlifes lurking in every shadow keep the story moving swiftly down the tracks. There is seemingly no place to hide. Slater’s girlfriend Lane sums it up best when she says, “You’re looking for a safe place... But there isn’t any. It’s all a tightwire and you never get to come down. You just get used to it... You just move from wire to wire to wire.”
Beautifully written and chilling prose makes this more than just a crime novel. The meticulous detail of the gritty and unrelenting gloom of the Northern Michigan landscape as well as the gripping scenes of riding the rails lend a persuasive feel to this brilliantly crafted thriller.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781935639053
Author:
Sparling, Scott
Publisher:
Tin House Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
A Tin House New Voice
Publication Date:
20110524
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
375
Dimensions:
7.25 x 5 in

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Wire to Wire (Tin House New Voice) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 375 pages Tin House Books - English 9781935639053 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "When rail rider Michael Slater gets smacked in the head by a power line while riding a train through Detroit, it sets his life on a course no boxcar could follow. A few years later, working as a speed-popping video editor in New York, Slater is cursed with watching his past unfold on the screens in his editing suite. He watches the story of his fellow stowaway Harp Maitland and how the two of them — along with a cast of characters torn from an especially good police procedural — outrun drug dealers, crooked cops, and smalltown creeps without ever being particularly sympathetic: as Slater concludes, 'the doomed... have no need for guilt.' Sparling's debut is well crafted and thrilling, tying together an obvious love for both Michigan and railroads with an expert sense of timing and plot. The world he has created is both overwhelming and exhilarating, thanks in no small part to a large ensemble of memorable characters and a relentless pace. Indeed, hardly a page goes by without some sort of fantastic calamity throwing Slater and company into further turmoil — when the most peaceful passages of the story are speed-addled, that's saying something — but it's done so well that hopping off this runaway train would never cross a reader's mind. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review A Day" by , "In Michael Slater's world, fate is delivered atop a moving freight train. It comes in the form of a live electrical wire that smacks him in the head while he attempts to smoke a joint.

'The power line kissed his forehead. It lit him up like a torch and lit the joint with 33,000 volts, but Slater never had a chance to inhale.'

So begins Wire to Wire, Portland writer Scott Sparling's smart, thrilling and darkly funny debut novel. It reportedly took Sparling more than 20 years to write this book, but it reads like lightning." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
"Review" by , "In the tradition of the great noir novels, Wire to Wire, is really something. Like being in a stolen car with no brakes in a world of train hopping, sex, violence, and drugs. It's all edge from start to finish."
"Review" by , "Scott Sparling writes like a man on fire, and Wire to Wire is the wickedly brilliant crime novel forged in the white-hot heat of his talent. It's an electrifying debut by a writer who knows the wrong side of town like the back if his hand. People, if there is a God, this book will win prizes."
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