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Rust and Bone: Storiesby Craig Davidson
"[Davidson] doesn't have the depth of Thom Jones or the humor and social commentary of Chuck Palahniuk, and he flounders a bit when dealing with intimate relationships or emotional complexities. So don't read Davidson for the warm fuzzy stuff, read him for the pain. His best stories blindside you and leave you gasping for breath. But you read on, peeking through your fingers, because despite all carnage, you kinda like hanging out with his band of losers, and you want to know what happens to them next." Anya C. Yurchyshyn, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and urgent debut collection by a young writer exploring the darkest corners of human experience.
In steel-tipped prose, Craig Davidson conjures a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts and gamblers. The twenty-eight bones of the title story are the bones in a boxer's hands; once broken, they never heal properly, and the fighter's career descends to bouts that have less to do with sport than with survival: no referee, no rules, not even gloves. In "A Mean Utility" we enter an even more desperate arena: dogfights where Rottweilers, pit bulls, and Dobermans fight each other to the death.
Davidson's stories are small monuments to the telling detail. The hostility of his fictional universe is tempered by the humanity he invests in his characters and by his subtle and very moving observations of their motivations. He shares with Chuck Palahniuk the uncanny ability to compel our attention, time and time again, to the most difficult subject matter.
"A strong stomach, an open mind and a morbid sense of humor are essential to enjoying Davidson's accomplished, macabre first collection. Calamity lurks around every corner, these stories suggest, and you never know when fate will smite you — only that it will. Davidson catapults his characters (sex addicts, fighters, gamblers and drinkers) into ingeniously grim situations that test their will. In 'Rocket Ride,' a young man who loses his leg to the orca he performs with in a marine park show tries to rebuild his life, in part by attending meetings of the Unlimbited Potential support group, which is full of substance-abusing amputees who wonder if karma's to blame for their plights. In the gruesome 'A Mean Utility,' a normal-seeming couple — an ad exec and his wife, a nurse — breed and fight vicious dogs, while in the sad 'On Sleepless Roads,' a repo man leaves one night's job not with the camper he was supposed to reclaim, but with the destitute man's hamster and guinea pig, which he brings home to his disabled wife. Davidson, 30, is a fine young writer with a keen sense of the absurd and a bracing, biting wit, but his focus on gore may keep many readers from appreciating his obvious talent." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[K]inetic, ferociously detailed prose....Davidson matches his stellar, energetic descriptions of physical confrontation with subtle, quirky explorations of human motivation." Booklist
"[W]hile the stories often end in a melodramatic flourish, they begin with elegant economy. And though Davidson's attempts at tough talk are more Deadwood than Eastwood, an ironic joviality sometimes rises to the surface." Lizzie Skurnick, The New York Times Book Review
"Thick with bleak characters and thin on redemption, Davidson moves from one unsavory battered character to another. The relentless, unforgiving nature of these difficult worlds makes for heavy reading." Kirkus Reviews
"Sometimes masochistic, always muscled in the diction of the men who people them, the stories are impossible to ignore....Even when Davidson pushes the limits of what a reader can stomach, he never loses our attention or our empathy. Recommended." Library Journal
"Smudges the line between comedy and horror, cruelty and mercy. His remarkable stories are challenging and upsetting, but never boring." Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club
"When it comes to raw power, Davidson is truly a force to be reckoned with." Thom Jones
"He is a writer of immense power and surprising, accurate insights." Peter Straub
"There is a strikingly original tone to Mr. Davidson's stories....This is in every way an extraordinary book." Clive Barker
"Big, riveting stories about tough guys in trouble...the best I've read in a long time from a young writer." Bret Easton Ellis
"Craig Davidson is a wickedly good storyteller who weaves worlds out of blood and magic and humanity." Joseph Boyden
In steel-tipped prose, Craig Davidson conjures a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts and gamblers. The hostility of his fictional universe is tempered by the humanity he invests in his characters.
About the Author
Craig Davidson is a thirty-year-old writer living in Calgary, Canada. His stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, Event, Prairie Fire, and SubTerrain. He also writes horror fiction under a pseudonym.
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