Jacket Weather By Mike DeCapite, 256 pgs.

Jan 21, 2022

Mike DeCapite was on the bill the first night I ever hit the road touring my fiction. I went out to dinner with him and his girlfriend June after the reading. I had a great time talking with them—they’re a little older than I, so they were both closer to our shared reference points for movies, art, writing music. Throughout Jacket Weather, a novel set in New York City, these reference points bubble to the fore time and again, threads in the life DeCapite and June share: Genesis P-Orridge, DeNiro, Led Zeppelin. Food is a reference point, too: he cooks, shops for ingredients, talks to his cronies at the gym about what they all cooked over the weekend, what they ate. And he notices subtle changes in the weather, light, scraps of visual poetry as trains blow past.

The lens of his relationship with June allows these initially incongruous strands to coalesce: way back when Mike first moved to New York City, he had a passing acquaintance with June, renewed after so many years (and so many marriages). As the two become a pair, become a thing, their stories intertwine even as DeCapite continues his routines of going to the gym, cooking, reading, seeing bands play. After a time it becomes obvious to the reader that this story, told in fragments, isn’t chronological, even though it started that way (or at least read like it started that way): the vignettes form a pastiche, sometimes conversational, sometimes poetic, deeply evocative, full of beautiful moments, doubt, want, loss. In a recent interview, DeCapite mentioned that the worst part of any story is its transitions, so he’s cut these entirely from Jacket Weather. This strategy works wonders: by snipping out the interstitial bits, the reader is forced to find and make meaning and connections from the elements of story throughout. –Michael T. Fournier (Soft Skull Press, softskull.com)