Following his renowned The Coast of Chicago and Childhood, story writer Stuart Dybek returns with eleven masterful and masterfully linked stories about Chicago's fabled and harrowing South Side. United, they comprise the story of Perry Katzek and his widening, endearing clan. Through these streets walk butchers, hitmen, mothers and factory workers, boys turned men and men turned to urban myth. I Sailed With Magellan solidifies Dybek's standing as one of our finest chroniclers of urban America.
This is only Dybek's third book of fiction in 23 years (he has also published a poetry collection), but despite his limited output, or maybe because of it, the author has become a semi-legendary figure among literary cognoscenti. It's no wonder; I Sailed With Magellan is the work of a master craftsman, and if you've never read Dybek before, it's the perfect place to start. The episodes that intersect and surround young Perry Katzek's upbringing in the Polish-Mexican ghetto of Chicago's South Side are simultaneously daring and compassionate, intimate in detail and mythic in scale. Dybek has the rare ability to dart back and forth in time and slide around recklessly in space while carrying the reader effortlessly with him. Andrew O'Hehir