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Issue 38 - Fun and fatality are the mark of Sorrow

Whisky Magazine Issue 38
April 2004


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Fun and fatality are the mark of Sorrow

Jefferson Chase takes Drew Barrymore's advice (really!) and buys a cheap copy of Tim Sandlin's Sorrow Floats

I bought Tim Sandlin's Sorrow Floats from my local used bookshop for two reasons. I was intrigued by the idea of an apparently successful novelist from Wyoming, who previously worked as an elk skinner, an ice cream man and a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant.

But mainly I was struck by the endorsement from Drew Barrymore on the back cover. I'd never taken a book recommendation from a child star
turned drug addict turned Charlie's Angel before, so I plunked down six euros on the counter. I headed home fearing the worst.

What I'd purchased turned out to be a funny, vulgar, light hearted and original novel about a drunken 1970s road trip. As the plot opens, the protagonist Maurey Pierce has just lost custody of her baby son for forgetting to take the child seat – containing child – off the roof of her car before driving away from a bar.

Disgusted with herself, she decides to reclaim her estranged daughter, whom she bore at the age of 14 and who now lives in North Carolina.

So she absconds with two recovering alcoholics on a mission to smuggle a trailer-load of Coors Beer to the east coast. Among Maurey's many problems is her inability to overcome the death of her father, who was killed when riding her favourite horse.

The crazy plot produces some wonderful descriptions of drink and drinking.

I poured myself a coffee cup full of Yukon Jack. Cradling the cup with both hands, I stared into the light molasses-coloured liquid. Was there a connection between this and Dad? C...

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