In this unforgettable work of fiction, Donald Ray Pollock peers into the soul of a tough Midwestern American town to reveal the sad, stunted but resilient lives of its residents.
Spanning a period from the mid-sixties to the late nineties, the linked stories that comprise Knockemstiff feature a cast of recurring characters who are woebegone, baffled and depraved—but irresistibly, undeniably real. Rendered in the American vernacular with vivid imagery and a wry, dark sense of humor, these thwarted and sometimes violent lives jump off the page at the reader with inexorable force. A father pumps his son full of steroids so he can vicariously relive his days as a perpetual runner-up body builder. A psychotic rural recluse comes upon two siblings committing incest and feels compelled to take action. Donald Ray Pollock presents his characters and the sordid goings-on with a stern intelligence, a bracing absence of value judgments, and a refreshingly dark sense of bottom-dog humor.
With an artistic instinct honed on the works of Flannery O'Connor and Harry Crews, Pollock offers a powerful work of fiction in the classic American vein. Knockemstiff is a genuine entry into the literature of place.
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Excellent DebutUser Review - Dane J., Merch Team - Borders
In Knockemstiff, Donald Ray Pollock exposes the heart and soul of rural Southern Ohio. Set in the real Knockemstiff, the short story collection of the same name features several interconnected short ... Read full review
Knockemsick = Sick Lit, Not Literary FictionUser Review - lyle loves it - Borders
Comparisons between Winesburg Ohio and Knockemstiff seem only relevant on a very superficial level with regard to subject and place, and so not really relevant at all. Moreover, the writing in ... Read full review