Tournament of Books 2015

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | January 19, 2015

    Emma Hooper: IMG From Musician to Novelist

    I was asleep on the floor of the magicians' apartment. Not one, but three magicians lived there, and their mysterious, mischievous, and sometimes... Continue »


This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.

Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Wavering Knife

The Wavering Knife Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Brian Evenson's fifth story collection constructs a human landscape as unearthly as it is mundane. Replete with the brutality, primordial waste, and savage blankness familiar to readers of his earlier works, Evenson's Kafkaesque allegories entice the mind while stubbornly disordering it. In the title story an obsessive consciousness folds back on itself, creating a vertiginous mélange of Poe and Borges, both horrific and metaphysical. Here, as in "Moran's Mexico," and "Greenhouse," the solitary nature of reading and writing leads characters beyond human limits, making the act of putting words to paper a monstrous violation opening onto madness. In "White Square" the representation of humans by dimly colored shapes confirms our feeling that something lies behind these words, while seeming to mock us with the futility of seeking it. Evenson's enigmatic names-Thurm, Bein, Hatcher, Burlun-placeable landscapes, and barren rooms all combine to create a semblance of conceptual abstraction, as though the material universe had come to exist inside someone's head.

Small wonder that Evenson's work has attracted so much attention among philosophers, literary critics, and other speculative intelligences, for it continuously projects a tantalizing absence, as though there were some key or code that, if only we knew it, would illuminate everything. However, the blade of discernment wavers, and we are left to our own groping interpretations.


Brian Evenson's fifth story collection constructs a human landscape as unearthly as it is mundane.


Harrowing short stories that run the gamut from horror to humor.

About the Author

Brian Evenson is the author of six books of fiction: Altmann's Tongue (Bison Books, 2002), The Din of Celestial Birds (Wordcraft, 1997), Prophets and Brothers (Rodent 1997), Father of Lies (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998), Contagion (Wordcraft, 2000), and Dark Property (Black Square/Hammer Books/Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002). He received an O. Henry Award for his story "Two Brothers" and has twice received O. Henry honorable mentions. He now teaches in the creative writing program at Brown University.

Table of Contents

White Square, The Ex-Father, The Intricacies of Post-Shooting Etiquette, Promisekeepers, Muller, Moran's Mexico, The Wavering Knife, Calling the Hour, Version, Stockwell, Barcode Jesus, One Over Twelve, House Rules, The Prophets, The Progenitor, The Gravediggers, Body, The Installation.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

chromatic30, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by chromatic30)
The best short story collection of the past decade. Steadily grim, determined, and intellectually sharp. Evenson's voice is unique and startling, cutting through the malaise that infects so much of mainstream fiction.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

Fiction Collective 2
Evenson, Brian
Normal Ill.
Short Stories (single author)
Short stories
Stories (single author)
Literature-A to Z
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
1st Edition
Series Volume:
no. 10-28-02
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Metaphysics » General

The Wavering Knife
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 205 pages Fiction Collective Two - English 9781573661133 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Brian Evenson's fifth story collection constructs a human landscape as unearthly as it is mundane.
"Synopsis" by , Harrowing short stories that run the gamut from horror to humor.
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at