LA may be the City Of Angels, but in Donald Rawley’s debut collection of short stories, it’s also a city of ghosts. Slow Dance On The Fault Line describes those lives normally lost within the noise of the night, finding the memories, dreams and moments in people’s lives which are built, like the desert-edge city itself, in defiance of reality. Rawley’s prose is both sensual and sinuous, evoking LA’s insane heat and murderous hustle, the unreachable glamour of Hollywood and the idiosyncracies of human intimacy.
Amongst the city’s contrivances of glass and steel which try to control and confine the nature of both the desert and it inhabitants, Rawley finds the points at which it breaks through. The tension of living under the volcano is palpable both in Rawley’s portrayal of the city and his characters, where desire breaks through definitions of who or what they should be or do. There’s a tenderness and simplicity to Rawley’s stories that’s reminisent of LA’s other great chronicler, Raymond Carver, but the elegance and intensity of Rawley’s writing sets him aside from such casual comparisons. Having previously published five award-winning volumes of poetry, Rawley’s entrance into the world of prose is alive with an intoxicating self-assurance. There’s not a short cut in sight.