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Visigothby Gary Amdahl
Synopses & Reviews
Visigoth is a portrait of the American male — gritty, violent, and fascinating. The protagonists in this collection of stories come from all walks of life — hockey players, middle managers, political hopefuls, and wayward husbands — but all share a tendency to turn towards violence when life begins spinning out of control. In "The Flyweight," an all-star high-school wrestler struggles with his own success and the expectations of others when he begins hearing voices after a schizophrenic breakdown. "Visigoth," the title story, depicts a college hockey player unable to understand that his relationship with an English professor is over. The novella "The Free Fall" focuses on a cycle of escalating violence in small farming and mining towns and the effect that it has on the main character and his family. Sharp, inquisitive, and witty, Visigoth challenges the reader to question the popular glory of violence in all its manifestations.
"Amdahl moves like lightning and carries a big stick in this rampaging collection of short stories..." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"The men in Gary Amdahl's passionately visceral debut collection of stories, Visigoth (Milkweed Editions), range from lotharios and politicos to hockey jocks and thick-as-mud middle managers. But in Amdahl's highly literary, tragicomic vision, they all melt our doubting hearts." Lisa Shea, Elle Magazine
"Amdahl is one whose gifts are staggering and hard-won. The stories relate, by the way of guts through grace, the wholeness of a novel too good for mere philosophy. Gary Amdahl knows sports, men, women, and dogs, thank God, so thoroughly as to make them myth. Camus comes to mind: thought with extreme muscle." Barry Hannah
"Gary Amdahl's vivid stories are at once lyrical and unexpectedly in your face. American wrath here puts on its several seductive faces and native charm, suggesting our worst side has grown as comfortable as an old shoe. A book we’ll remember." Thomas McGuane
"Gary Amdahl is a fine writer indeed and I'm pleased to see Visigoth in print. He should have a brilliant career." Jim Harrison
The modern American male is center stage in this riveting collection of short stories. The characters in this powerful debut come from all walks of life — hockey players, middle managers, feckless bouncers, and wayward husbands — but all share a tendency to turn violent when life spins out of control. In these haunting, finely tuned pieces, Gary Amdahl illuminates the rage and desperation lurking beneath the veneer.
About the Author
Gary Amdahl is the author of the short story collection Visigoth. He has been published in the Santa Monica Review, the Quarterly, Fiction, the Nation, and the Gettysburg Review. He won a Pushcart Prize for Narrow Road to the Deep North. Gary Amdahl has also published a novella called I am Death, or Bartleby the Mobster: A Story of Chicago, and has co-written a book of essays with Leslie Brody (A Motel of the Mind). Gary has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He is a former staff writer and editor at ESRI Press, for whom he wrote the non-fiction title Disaster Response: GIS for Public Safety. Gary Amdahl lives in Redlands, California, and has previously lived in Minnesota.
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