In eleven expertly crafted stories, John Brandon gives us a stunning assortment of men and women at the edge of possibility—gamblers and psychics, wanderers and priests, all of them on the verge of finding out what they can get away with, and what they can't. Ranging from haunted deserts to alligator-filled swamps, these are stories of foul luck and strange visitations, delivered with deadpan humor by an unforgettable voice.
The New York Times praised Brandon's last novel for a style that combined Elmore Leonard and Charles Portis, and now Brandon brings that same darkly American artistry to his very first story collection, demonstrating once again that he belongs in the top ranks of contemporary writers.
About the Author
John Brandon was raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida and
is now based in Minneapolis. His favorite recreational activity is
watching college football. He is the author of three novels; this is his
first short story collection.
In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is "dirty" tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. On the Massachusetts coast north of Boston, a controlling manager, Mark, discovers his wife's infidelity after twenty-five years of marriage. An overweight young woman, Marla, gains a romantic partner but loses her innocence. A philandering bartender/aspiring poet, Robert, betrays his pregnant wife. And in the stunning title novella, a teenage girl named Devon, fleeing a dirty image of her posted online, seeks respect in the eyes of her widowed great-uncle Francis and of an Iraq vet she's met surfing the Web.
Slivered by happiness and discontent, aging and death, but also persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.