'Hands down, it's the best book I've ever read'

'Why Did I Ever' by Mary Robison
'Why Did I Ever' by Mary Robison
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke to Wesley Minter from Third Place Books in Seattle.

Wesley Minter doesn't just want you to read "Why Did I Ever." If you spend any amount of time with him, he will require that you read it.

"Mary Robison's books are the hill upon which I will die," Minter said.

Robison is a short story writer and novelist whose work largely fell out of print, until Counterpoint recently reissued a large chunk of it.

So now that it's back in print, there's really no excuse not to read "Why Did I Ever."

The novel follows a script doctor named Money Breton. "She's very concerned about her son, and he's been a victim of some very grisly, violent crime having to do with the mob, and she's got this daughter who is coming off methadone, who has some of the best quips in the book," Minter explained. There's also a lost cat, named Flower Girl, who she looks for — when she remembers, that is.

"Hands down, it's the best book I've ever read," Minter said.

"It's told in very disparate parts, where there's just little vignettes. They're broken up into these little bite-size scenes that sort of leads the reader to hang them and frame the narrative however they choose. Some of them are very dark, some of them are very funny, and it's really interesting, how with each reading, it's a different book every time.

"The great thing about the book, the absolute best thing about the book, is the dialogue. She's the master of this really great flip, pithy zinger that feels really timeless," Minter said. "It was written in 2001 — it could also could easily hang with Carver and all of those good dead guys from the late 70s, early 80s."

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