Monday, October 11, 2010
Billy Coffey's "Snow Day"
Author Billy Coffey has a singular ability to tell a story “true,” and in Snow Day, his first novel, he not only tells his story true, he tells stories within the story just as true. And he tells them well: how scars and a limp can be beautiful; how winning a lottery ticket can be both tragic and redemptive; why one can lose his faith in the face of overwhelming human devastation; and what one can learn from one’s children.
Those are only a few of the stories he tells as the drama of Peter’s impending layoff unfolds. These are stories about brokenness. Not brokenness made whole, but brokenness made livable and breathable, brokenness found in life.
If you read Coffey’s blog, you will know more about Snow Day than you realize. Yes, this is a novel, but it is also Billy Coffey’s life, and it is that life he tells so well from that small town in the mountains in Virginia. He draws the universal from the particular, often in a surprising, unexpected way. And we know these characters in the novel because we know people just like them, and because we are people just like them. He creates them all with fine detail, so that we can hear the elderly man calling for help in the big box “Super Mart” and see the disbelief followed by joy on the face of a six-year-old who finds the best Christmas present ever.
Coffey writes with a vulnerability and openness that’s humbling both to himself and the reader. There’s a sweet tenderness about his characters – even the unlovable ones – and his story.
Snow Day is a quiet story, a humbling story, a story about people we know and ultimately a story about ourselves.