Barry Hannah, 1942–2010

I’ve just heard the sad news that Bar­ry Han­nah has died at only 67 years of age. He was a cease­less­ly inven­tive and orig­i­nal fic­tion writer whose work is like noth­ing else in the world. His sto­ry col­lec­tion Air­ships (1978) is still one of the best ever pub­lished. If you don’t know his work, Air­ships and his short, inde­scrib­able nov­el Ray (1980), are good places to start. The Ten­nis Hand­some (1983) and Hey Jack! (1987) have a wild ener­gy sim­i­lar to Ray but might be eas­i­er for read­ers unac­cus­tomed to Hannah’s high-ener­gy, ellip­ti­cal approach to writ­ing fic­tion. I hap­pen to be read­ing Yon­der Stands Your Orphan (2001) at the moment, and it’s every bit as good as the things he wrote in the 1980s and 1990s. I nev­er met him, but I wish that I had. He can­not be imi­tat­ed and there will nev­er be anoth­er.

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