Barry Hannah’s “Testimony of Pilot”

For some reason, and I’m not sure why, Barry Hannah’s “Testimony of Pilot” is one of the best short stories I have ever read.  Maybe it taps into my childhood and early adulthood.  I don’t know, but I love this story for its characters, drama, and, perhaps most of all, its language.  Anyone who can write this sentence–

Linda Field, this lovely teary thing, with the rather pious grace of her carriage, with the voice full of imminent swoon, picked up Quadberry’s horn case and her own and walked off the stage.

–well, he had talent by the loads.

Quadberry is such a complicated character.  He drives everyone close to him away as fiercely as his sax playing draws them to him.  The story moves through many years, many strange twists and abrupt turns, but by the end I feel as though I’ve lived these lives, and the story satisfies on every level.

To read a Paris Review with Hannah, click here.


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