Friday, August 22, 2014

Harrison Has The Spark And The Drive

The Spark And The Drive
Ask Justin Bailey who he most wants to be at age 17 and the answer comes easy. Nick Campbell is a genius in the garage, specializing on high performance rebuilds and modifications. He is one of the few men left who can hear an engine and then visualize every inch in operation, from the valves as they open and close to the crank as it whips through the oil.

As a rudderless teenager still smarting from the divorce of his parents after his father declared he liked men, Bailey was primed to look up to the mechanic. Campbell was strong, intelligent, and masculine — everything he wanted his father to be. The internship was a dream come true.

There was nothing more important to Bailey than becoming accepted by the crew, especially Campbell and his wife Mary Ann. And it doesn't take long before his admiration transforms itself into idolization. Bailey didn't just admire Campbell, but everything the living legend made his own.

The Spark And The Drive smolders with adulation. 

With such high expectations, it doesn't take long for events to chip away at his muscle car mechanic pedestal. He noticed it all, every little miss on an engine or careless cleanup. He was human too.

Not only is his mechanical talent losing its touch, but Bailey discovers very little of Campbell measures up to the ideal the boy had conjured to make a role model. All it takes is a tragedy to push everything over the edge. And as Campbell reels from the impact, Bailey steps in to console an increasingly distant Mary Ann until the empathy becomes affection.

ZL1 Corvette
While initially torn between supporting his mentor and embracing the woman of his dreams, Bailey begins to wonder whether Campbell deserves the life he had built in Connecticut. All of it — the reputation of the garage, the trust of his employees, the loyalty of his wife — seemed to be terribly up for grabs. It wouldn't take much to push everything over the edge.

It's a poignant and powerful story that transforms an isolated but intelligent teenager into a passive-agressive protagonist who longs to become the idolized version of a man who would do anything for him. But instead of being satisfied with the salvation this friendship might afford him, Bailey invents a one-sided rivalry between himself and a mentor who is blind to it.

A few more graphs about author Wayne Harrison. 

Before working as a corrections officer in Rutland, Vermont, Wayne Harrison was an auto mechanic in Waterbury, Connecticut. As a first-generation college student, he originally pursued a degree in criminal justice before discovering a passion for creative writing.

Wayne Harrison
Since, his short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary reviews. One of his stories was also recognized as notable in the Best American 2009. Another received special mention in Pushcart Prizes 2012. His fiction earned him a Maytag fellowship, an Oregon Literary Fellowship, and a Fishtrap Writing Fellowship. He also teaches writing at Oregon State University.

While his experience as an auto mechanic lends notable authenticity to the novel, it's Harrison's ability to convince readers to be sympathetic to Bailey that makes it so remarkable. By moving the story forward with objectively vivid detail and as an unreliable narrator, it's easy to become lost in the environment and accept one justification after another until agreeing with darkest of revelations.

The Spark And The Drive By Wayne Harrison Revs 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richer Scale. 

Along with his tenuous coming-of-age story that touches on loyalty, loss, and betrayal, Wayne Harrison captures a snapshot of an era when cars were held together by moving parts and muscle as opposed to computer codes and components. As all of it seems to slowly slip between the fingers of the men who work at one of the last classic high performance garages, so does their innocence.

The Spark And The Drive By Wayne Harrison can be found on Amazon. You can also download the novel from iBooks or as an audiobook from iTunes. The narration by Quincy Dunn Baker is impeccable, punctuated by his ability to capture the naivety of the protagonist and the gruffness of his colleagues. Barnes & Noble also carries The Spark And The Drive.
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