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Rust and Bone: Stories


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About the Author

Craig Davidson lives in Iowa City, Iowa. His stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, Event, Prairie Fire, and SubTerrain. He has also written horror fiction under a pseudonym.


Davidson's forceful debut collection arrives like a jab to the jaw from one of his colorful characters. Sometimes masochistic, always muscled in the diction of the men who people them, the stories are impossible to ignore. Davidson brings us hard men-alcoholic fathers, sex-addicted porn stars, boxers, a repo man, a magician who deserts his two children-without patronizing them or their extreme conditions. He is as adept at the humorous interplay of personality in a sex addicts anonymous meeting (in "Friction") as he is in describing a vicious dogfight (in the excellent "A Mean Utility"). There are also quiet moments of grace, particularly in "An Apprentice's Guide to Modern Magic" and "On Sleepless Roads." Even when Davidson pushes the limits of what a reader can stomach, he never loses our attention or our empathy. Recommended as a young writer to watch.-Prudence Peiffer, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"The landscape of Rust and Bone is a war zone. With each story, the author digs both feet into the canvas and slings forth a blizzard of body blows that will knock you on your ass. When it comes to raw power, Davidson is truly a force to be reckoned with." -- Thom Jones "In prose so clean it has been stripped down to the bone, Craig Davidson gives us the demimonde of dogfights, bar brawls, and washed-up boxers that Hemingway first brought into our literature... Davidson ... is a writer of immense power and surprising, accurate insights." -- Peter Straub "Davidson ... smudges the line between comedy and horror, cruelty and mercy. His remarkable stories are challenging and upsetting... Don't look for comfort here." -- Chuck Palahnuik

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. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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