Monday, July 20, 2009

Missy by Chris Hannan *

Missy (evidently 19th century slang for laudanum) is set during the Civil War, but as it takes place in the West, it concerns the Gold Rush and the Wild West more than the war in the distant eastern United States. It follows Dol McQueen, a teenage flash-girl (evidently 19th century slang for a prostitute) on her travels from San Francisco (a booming port) through Carson City (during the silver rush) and on to Salt Lake City. It is written with a wry humor and reconstituted dialect.

Before you you pick up this book, you want to ask yourself what you can imagine a 21st century Scottish author can possibly add to the classical genre created and perfected by Mark Twain and Bret Harte? I read much of the book and my answer was: Nothing.

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