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Vic Chesnutt: The Salesman and Bernadette (Capricorn)

Eric Weisbard, Spin, January 1999

THIS IS THE best record of the year at making time stop. Vic Chesnutt tells a story. Maybe the tale pulls into it specific figures, half-recallable retinal patterns for the mind's eye-like the tubercular Catholic visionary Bernadette, the dance instructor Arthur Murray, President Woodrow Wilson and an Eisenhower ashtray. Or maybe we're pressed up against a scenario: a duty free shop where a befuddled man stains his lap; the same man, perhaps, in a mansion as summer fades, "sweeping up a sad old pillar of salt"; waiting for a companion on a bench, just after a parade, in a town where everyone over the age of ten is frowning.

Total word count of piece: 430


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