Five-Carat Soul

After reading James McBride’s Good Lord Bird, I looked forward to reading more of his work. This collection of short stories came across my desk a few weeks ago and I made my way through one story at a time. McBride’s signature style and voice were on display throughout this book, but my favorite story was probably the first in the book titled “The Under Graham Railroad Box Car Set”. It is so tightly written, the characters beautifully drawn and the plot so simple but effective, I was really taken by it. It also represents the least mystical or ephemeral of the stories in this book. Many of the other stories have a supernatural quality, of sorts, that is effective but somewhat repetitive. This story is grounded in realism in a way that I found refreshing, something like Adam Johnson’s stories in Fortune Smiles.