Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

Rampart & Toulouse

Rampart and Toulouse - Kristin Fouquet (this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers Collective)Kristin Fouquet writes with a sense of poignancy, a defiance of the trite and the clever, a mode that practically forced me to fall in love with her writing back in the Twenty Stories days. With her second book, Rampart & Toulouse: a Novella and Other Stories, I am quite happy to say that Fouquet has compromised nothing. She can still tell a beautiful story, one subtly complex, but altogether “normal,” while delivering a final line or image, strong enough to anchor the story in your brain. You’ll wake up after a long night reading with a headache. A beautiful, relentless headache.Rampart & Toulouse is comprised of three short stories and one novella. The novella, it being an unfamiliar form to Fouquet, I approached with the most skepticism. Could Fouquet bring poignancy to an 85 page story? What about her characters, the New Orleans locals with a thirst for wine and a need for story; would they survive the longer format? Simply stated: yes.I hesitate to quote too much form this collection, as any single line would fail without the story’s context. And even if I could properly abbreviate the story, and deliver the line’s impact, each story so beautifully focuses its power into a few lines that to rob the reader of one line is to rob the reader of an entire story. So, let the exhaustion and breathlessness of Vivienne, the protagonist of the novella, “Rampart and Toulouse,” mirror my own gradual change, from full of energy to depleted of all but the most necessary breathes. Here, Vivienne has rescued a bullet wounded dog from the street:“She assured the animal in her arms, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ Dodging sauntering tourists, her message weakened to just ‘Okay.’ The encouragement seemed more for her now than the victim. Seeing the vet’s office, Vivienne nearly collapsed” (pg 67)