The Outermost Borough Review

Gahan Wilson’s The Outermost Borough tells the story of Barstow, an artist living in one of the boroughs off the island of Manhattan.

Barstow is an upcoming artist who has yet to make it in the art world. But he waits with anxious anticipation for his longtime associate Max Ratch to arrive at his studio.

Ratch is the owner of one of New York’s prestigious art galleries, accompanied by his assistant to Barstow’s humble apartment away from the glitz and glamour that Ratch is accustomed to.

Barstow is pleased by Ratch’s reactions to his latest paintings, ranging from portraits to landscapes of the city.

Ratch is very vocal about his love for Barstow’s paintings, the grotesque images pleasing to Ratch’s trained eye. Ratch’s compliments please Barstow, knowing that his longtime associate will sell his paintings at his art gallery.

But Barstow becomes unnaturally anxious when some disfigured pigeons land upon his windowsill before shooing them away without being noticed.

The Outermost Borough fills my mind with such imagery that after finishing the short story I wanted so much more story from Gahan Wilson. The descriptions of Barstow’s paintings are breathtaking and realizing that his paintings’ subjects were more than just Barstow’s imagining brought the macabre to a level of beauty.


~ by nicmarray on January 24, 2010.

One Response to “The Outermost Borough Review”

  1. Your blog post came in handy a week or so ago. I used it as a resource to find a short story mentioned in a conversation at Goodreads. I vaguely recalled having read the story, but had no idea of the name. Googling what little I did know, I came up with this blog post. The Outermost Borough. I credited your site in the chat for helping me come up with the answer. Nice site, by the way. Very professional looking and reading.

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