Sad Stories of the Death of Kings is a book of vignettes by Barry Gifford about a boy growing up in Chicago in the 1950’s and 60’s. I’m sure the boy, Roy is a stand in for the author himself.
I liked the stories very much and I can relate to Roy in many ways as we are roughly the same age now. Barry Gifford is a talented writer who has penned some of my favorite stories which later became movies: Wild at Heart and Lost Highway (both David Lynch Films).
Gifford is reminiscent of two other writers I love: Nelson Algren and Charles Bukowski.
I am a great believer of synchronicity and love to connect the dots. In the story, “Roy’s First Car,” Barry details a 1955 Buick Century with a Dyna-Flo transmission which the boy Roy purchases for $300. My own first car was a 1955 Buick Century with a Dyna-Flo transmission which I purchased for $300 from a salesman by the name of Grundy Hayes at Broadway Chevrolet in 1965, in Louisville, Kentucky. I will never forget that day or that purchase. Now it shows up again in another man’s book of stories in a different time and place.
How’s that for a coincidence? When I read that passage it about blew my mind! It gets weirder but that’s grist for the mill for another story.
For God’s sake, let us sit on the ground and tell the sad stories of the death of kings.