In this collection of original short fiction, memoirs and vignettes composed over a span of fifteen years, Dan McKinnon echoes and reexamines the truth of God’s love and ever-presence. His language is refreshingly tight and rhythmic:
[A]ll gospel tracts are written by a small group of aged, white, legalistic and bespectacled males (a fair description of me), who seldom venture beyond the small, dark cells where they live and toil. (They leave their cells a few times a week to attend church, buy fresh writing supplies, and replace the few, select sections of the Bibles they’ve worn out.)
Memoirs are lucid, engaging and deeply affecting. Vignettes are taut, evocative and surprisingly varied in structure and voice. Short fiction covers the spectrum from allegory (His son was much more valuable to him than the souls they wanted to win […but] he realized that if the cross changed even one person, it was worth the cost.); sci-fi (After devouring a big breakfast of egg-o-like, simu-bac meat product, flapjack substitute, and a flagon of coff-eine, Smit reconnoitered to clear his escape.); and noir thriller (“Listen, do not speak,” a male voice on the phone said in unaccented English. The efficient, detached voice continued, “Go to SeaTac airport tomorrow…”).
In “Chief,” a Western vignette narrated by the son of an Indian chief, the sentences are simple and declarative, identifying the narrator as a non-native English speaker and adding a sort of innocence to the message. “Social Services” is a moving examination of the inadequacies of the titular institution, and of the difference one man can make.
Staggeringly versatile, certain to continue honing his craft, Dan McKinnon is an author to watch.
Dan McKinnon lives with his wife Donna, great-nephew Colton, dog Angel and two cats Boots and Baby in Shoreline, WA. He has worked as a contract technical writer at Microsoft.