Donald Ray Pollock
Blunt, brutal, but infused with a deep sympathy, Knockemstiff is a pitch-dark and hilarious collection of stories set in a tiny town in Southern Ohio.
The youth of Knockemstiff grow up in the malignant shadow of their parents; raised on abuse, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, they are stunted in every possible way: emotionally, mentally, sometimes physically. They talk a lot about escape but they never so much as cross the county line.
What makes this an enjoyable read is Pollock's aptitude for a funny gag in the guise of amazingly inventive language * Dazed and Confused * The majority of the inhabitants of Knockemstiff, Ohio ... seem straight out of John Boorman's film Deliverance ... Life experience shows in this exceptional collection * Guardian * Like Denis Johnson, Andre Dubus and Raymond Carver before him, Pollock populates his stories with low-lives and junkies, dreamers and drunks...He is a master of voice and phrasing, and there are some knockout, pitch-perfect sentences.... Pollock treats readers to inventive, melodic and captivating storytelling. It may be as ragged as junkies' jeans, but this has the potential to be a whiskey-stained classic * Time Out * Pollock's writing is lean and unflinching. His economical prose excels in its lurid (and often scatological) detail, and his physical descriptions are superb. The book is laced with dry, black humour * New Statesman * To get an idea of Donald Ray Pollock's astonishing new book, one could try to imagine a drunken punch-up between a redneck Hemingway and an amphetamine-fuelled Raymond Carver... A fiendishly enjoyable collection * Daily Telegraph *
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