Book review: Starr Creek – Nathan Carson


Nathan Carson’s ‘Starr Creek’ has a little bit of everything. At its core, it is a sort of coming-of-age story that reads like a mix between ‘Deliverance’, ‘The Explorers’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’, so you can probably imagine that I had a great time with the book.

Firstly, let’s get the little negative out-of-the-way. It actually took me a little time to really get into this. At the start I was bombarded with different characters in quite a short space of time and I was worried that with it being novella length they were going to be rushed and largely forgettable, fortunately this isn’t the case,things settle down quickly and the story slides into a nice smooth groove, Carson’s characters come to life quickly and I was hooked.

As a child that grew up in the 1980s, there is a lot in this story that I am able to identify with. Not so much the ten strips of acid that Bron, Allen and Kira take before journeying into the woods but in the way that Carson crafts his characters as youngsters without fear, uncaring in the way that they approach drugs and potential danger. It’s all very innocent when compared to the way things are these days and I love the feeling I got. ‘Starr Creek’ is set in the mid 1980s, Oregon. Mentions of ‘The Last Starfighter’ and various other 80s pop culture references feel included for a reason, not simply thrown in for the sake of authenticity. The story has a real charm to it and I can’t help but think some of this is autobiographical.

The novella is, of course labelled as a Bizarro book and things certainly do get stranger and stranger, particularly towards the end when there appear a string of truly odd but thoroughly entertaining scenes. ‘Starr Creek’ has appeared at a time when shows like ‘Stranger Things’ are rekindling an interest in the 1980s, but it doesn’t feel like Carson is simply someone jumping on the bandwagon. Instead ‘Starr Creek’ feels like a book written by somebody with a good memory of times past, somebody who walked in those shoes and somebody who enjoyed the freedom of youth.

A really great read.

4.5/5 stars

Pick up a copy from here.

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