Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Golf in Myanmar 

Wednesday, Sep 13 2006
Ben Fountain, the fiction editor of Southwest Review, has produced a debut story collection that should give lit-rag hopefuls pause. With pieces about places like Haiti, Colombia, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone, Brief Encounters With Che Guevara is a wicked example of how to do the short form right. Fountain's prose seems effortless, a mix of sincere, literary passages and sparkling reportage, peppered with drop-dead lines about the human condition. The tales revolve around the iconic figure of the well-meaning American abroad, confounding the locals, attempting to save the world and/or himself. In "Near-Extinct Birds of the Central Cordillera," an ornithologist from Duke University who thinks himself too poor to kidnap ("I owe $20,000 in student loans," he informs curious rebels) gets abducted. After the horror subsides, he first admires his captors for their dedication to the cause, then understands that the revolution has become a business unto itself. He turns his attention — and ultimately offers his life — to the birds, a batch of critically endangered Purpureicephalus feltisi (crimson-capped parrots). In "Asian Tiger," an American golf pro, dropped into a Myanmar war zone to design a course (the generals love golf), turns a longing but resigned eye to the life of the local monks. Filled with smuggling, kidnappings, and crooked politics, Brief Encounters brings both a clear eye and a sense of the absurd to deal-making in the Third World.
Wed., Sept. 13, 7 p.m.

About The Author

Michael Leaverton


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"