The Graybar Hotel
A man sits collect-calling strangers every day just to hear the sounds of the outside world; an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament; a prisoner is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling than he expected.
In this stunning debut story collection, Curtis Dawkins, who is currently serving a life sentence without parole, offers a glimpse into the reality of prison life through the eyes of the people who spend their days and years behind bars.
A debut collection that is compelling and real . . . Remarkable for its modesty, realism and humanity . . . He has produced a book that is not only moving and genuine, but genuinely important; one that, without resorting to shock tactics, powerfully conveys the perverse inhumanity of mass incarceration * * Guardian * * Dawkins's speciality in his writing is as much the mundanity of prison life as the unexpected . . . An engrossing introduction to a stark universe that can only come as a shock to those who have to navigate it for the first time for real * * Observer * * A dazzling debut . . . The gritty, gripping and grimly comic stories . . . draw the reader in with the sweep of their humanity and empathy * * Telegraph * * In each of his stories, he depicts the gritty reality of life caged up. Often unapologetic and always moving, Dawkins gives voice to a group of people forgotten by society * * New Statesman * * This is an assured and ultimately humane collection . . . The prose is sparse and precise yet brimming with resonance and meaning, and there is a seam of deathly dark humour running through the stories. An impressive and authentic glimpse at a world most of us will thankfully never know * * The Big Issue * * The effect is fascinating, like conveying the wonder of a fable with the force of a fist * * Times Literary Supplement * * The stories in The Graybar Hotel are astonishing, clever and true. It's the best collection I've read in a long, long time -- Roddy Doyle, author of the Booker Prize-winning PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA Rarely have I read a book that takes you so vividly into a hinterland at once hellish and humane, brutal and tender. A literary testament to the indomitability of the human spirit and the primacy of the creative act -- John Niven, author of STRAIGHT WHITE MALE With his first story collection, The Graybar Hotel, Curtis Dawkins has given noir a new, darker niche . . . furiously funny, full of poetic punches and tinged with a surrealism born of doing time, killing time, despairing over time. He catches the taut rhythms and indigenous argot of inmates, as well as their fragile hopes and febrile dreams * * The Big Issue * * Dawkins writes with emotional clarity and attention to detail * * Observer * *
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