Synopses & Reviews
Kevin Sampsell likes secrets. In the short story collection Beautiful Blemish, Sampsell dives deep into the human psyche to reveal the layers of secret desire, loneliness and hope buried in our hearts. The stories in Beautiful Blemish display an American voice that mixes humor, experimentation and unflinching pathos to full effect.
"Sampsell, editor of The Insomniac Reader and publisher of fringe fiction at 'micro-press' Future Tense Books, concocts a diverse, convincing world of romantic perversion governed by impulses at turns whimsical, hilarious and cryptic in a slim collection of very short stories ranging from one to 11 pages. In the title story, an elderly couple engages in bizarre sexual congress involving Magic Markers and extreme dirty talk, only to end their romp on a note of piquant tenderness. In 'Gloves,' a man collects lost gloves from the street and vainly looks for ways to give them away. In 'The Plant,' a man casually mourns his 'inept nurturing' of the plant in his care and his own frustrated self. Sampsell's prose ranges from taut to indifferent, bearing occasional whiffs of Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan, as well as Chris Ware and Dan Clowes, and his stories are full of horniness and wonder, morbid speculation and strange coincidence. For readers with tastes that range outside the mainstream, this is a gem of warmhearted idiosyncrasy and oddball observation." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Kevin Sampsell should never be allowed near children. Or electrical outlets. Or water. I'm frightened and thrilled to see what he'll do next." Zoe Trope, author of Please Don't Kill the Freshman
"Let Kevin Sampsell in for one page and he has permanently won you over with writing that is charmed, painful, hilarious and beautiful. His ability to find magic, humor, and heartbreak where anyone of less talent would see only vacant landscapes leaves you reconsidering every place you've ever been." Dan Kennedy, author of Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of DumbLuck and Minor Humiliation
"Quirky, perverse tales of romance and alienation. Fun, winning, and passionate." Tin House magazine
About the Author
Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of the influential micro-press, Future Tense Books, in Portland, Oregon. His work has been published widely in magazines and on the internet. He is also the editor of The Insomniac Reader: Stories of the Night (Manic D Press) and the author of many small books such as A Common Pornography, Etiquette for Evil, and The Patricia Letters.