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Eight Dogs Named Jack: And 14 Other Stories from the Detroit Streets and Michigan Wilderness Hardcover – July 2, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Joe Borri demonstrates a brilliant sense of both time and place, of the city of Detroit and the deep woods of Michigan. He writes with grace and air and distinction. He makes the whole state seem like an enchanted and magical place. ----PAT CONROY, bestselling author of The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and /i>The Prince of Tides

Joe Borri is a screaming talent coming out of America's heartland. The setting may be Michigan, but Borri's search is the heart of America and he's found some gold and some very dark places. Eight Dogs Named Jack is a riveting collection of rapid fire stories by a writer who knows his characters and makes you sweat along with them. ----JACK EPPS JR., screenwriter, Top Gun and Dick Tracy

Joe Borri's first book, Eight Dogs Named Jack,'' is neatly summed up in the rest of the title: And Fourteen Other Stories from the Detroit Streets and Michigan Wilderness. It's a fun, sometimes startling, sometimes mournful collection sparked by family lore told in his and his wife's enormous Italian clans. He grew up on "Copper Corner,'' a section of Detroit known in the 1960s and 1970s for its concentration of the city's police officers and firefighters, escaping on weekends and holidays to the great "Up North.'' The book reads like a love story to places that many of us recognize. When the main character in the story titled "I'm From Detroit'' utters those words, we've heard the gritty, faintly gleeful inflection. When that same character builds his cabin on a lake, where the women don't go and a man risks a lifetime of good-natured derision for admitting an error that cost him a great day's fish haul, we know somebody who has one of those, too. And no matter what comfort foods say "home'' to you, I must advise laying in a supply of good Italian meats, bread and olives before settling in with the book. It will save you a frantic trip to the deli after you're read a few descriptions of mouthwatering feasts and feel sure you will expire forthwith unless a mortadella sandwich saves you. ----The Ann Arbor News

About the Author

Joe Borri is an artist and writer of Italian descent who grew up on Detroit s East Side during the 1960s and 70s. As the son of a Detroit policeman and a member of a large extended Italian-American family, he was riveted by stories about life in the city and the real characters who lived there stories that left a deep imprint on his psyche, ultimately inspiring the fictional characters in his first book of short stories, Eight Dogs Named Jack.

Borri holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Northern Michigan University (1984). He has worked as an illustrator, freelancing for both of Detroit's daily newspapers and various other publications, and currently is employed at a creative studio. He resides in the Detroit area with his wife and their four children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Momentum Books LLC; First Edition edition (July 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879094797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879094796
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,966,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit the title didn't thrill me at first, though I thought it humorous. (The stories are mainly about people, not dogs.) Had no idea what to expect. So you know where this reviewer's coming from, I can count on a single hand the number of fiction books I've read in forty-plus years. (Only interested in non-fiction, reference and illustrated, graphic fiction.) So I'm tough to please.

Thankfully, writer Joe Borri knew just how to make his book appealing even to guys like me. There's just enough description to give you the sense of the scene, characters and action. (I can't stand over-exposition or flowery descriptions.) The dialog is realistic and "sounds" right to the trained ear. Joe writes with experience even though this is an inaugural effort. You *know* you've seen, met or grew up with some or all of these people at one time in your life. The Detroit-area references were wonderful but not confusing or annoying to non-Detroiters. If you've only been to Chicago or NY or LA or London or Sydney, you'll still "get it." And enjoy it.

There's humor, pathos, relationships, family, fights, conflict, nostalgia, crime, violence, love, passion, you name it. What's not to like? Others have talked about the Italian/Sopranos vibe so I won't. (As someone of Italian descent, though, I appreciated that part even more.) But it's neat to see that Mob-types show up anywhere, and behave the same. Joe knows his stuff.

What most others *haven't* mentioned is the gorgeous artwork throughout! There's some amazing woodcut-like pieces for each tale, drawn by the author. He's a multi-gifted guy--who gives you more for your money.

There's a nice selection of several stories here, which is great for guys like me who don't have the time or concentration to read a whole novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Joe Borri is able tell stories as a painter details a canvas. Each of these short stories are akin to staring at a detailed painting at length.

Each story is flushed out in such detail with back fill lines, sub bars, and side plots you seem to experience it first hand. His use of slang,and detailed discriptions puts you at the scene of each vinyette.

This book is very hard to put down, the flow and pace build to a break point and leave you with a "just saw something through a window I shouldn't have" feeling.

Whether you are from Michigan or not you will enjoy this book and pick it up again to read your favorite tales. This would make a great gift for anyone that loves colorful, slightly tawdry story telling of tough guys and kids growing up. It makes your remember every colorful neighborhood character from your youth and leaves you wondering what the fly on the wall may have really seen!

Top notch stories from a first rate writer-and artist!

A BIG THUMBS UP!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of the stories in this book are excellent like the one highlighted in the book title. If you want to pick and choose 5-6 short stories to read from this book, and you pick right - this one could be one of the greatest collections you'll ever pick up...or it could just be meh. Perhaps if there had been more editorial oversight and cutting one of the duller stories from the collection, those that remained would shine brighter.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Borri has captured a lost world -- stories that literally exists only in the minds of those who left for safer ground in great waves over the past decades He writes of a time and place beyond the empty lots and ghostly remains or the dazzling downtown revitalization of today to create themes that are universal -- slice of life tales that ring true no matter where you're from -- yet are unmistaklably 'Made in Detroit.' His prose pulls you in like a good conversation and scenes unfold in a way that catches you by surprise, hits you spot on, and then you're in thick of it, just like Detroit of the 60's and 70's. He spins tales of the relentless driving energy and the hard won survivors' edge that came with its very own badge of honor that said, "I'm a Detroiter." As one who lived through those years I can assure you, to read his work will put you on the ground and in the thick of it.
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Format: Hardcover
In his first book, Eight Dogs Named Jack, Joe Borri shares his passion for where he grew up and where he goes to get away from it all. Copper Corner and Northern Michigan are worlds apart, yet come together with colorful characters, humorous side plots, and gritty neighborhoods.
In life you meet people that leave you with descriptive memories that you can not shake out of your head, Joe brings these relationships to life in a short story format. Gritty details, outstanding illustration, insight, and a host of memorable situations highlight this great read.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought this book might be interesting because it was written by a Detroit Native and is about this city we live in and around. Little did I know that I would pick it up one night figuring I'd thumb through it and read the entire thing in one sitting!!
Eight Dogs Named Jack and 14 Other Stories from the Detroit Streets and Michigan Wilderness marks the writing debut of Michigan artist Joe Borri, who is employed at Skidmore Inc., a studio in Royal Oak, Mich. This collection of short stories is inspired by the East Side Detroit neighborhood where he grew up and its predominantly Italian denizens. It's very easy to read, and keeps you flipping the pages till you're done.
Some books I pick up, read a few chapters and put down, only to never finish them again. The coolest thing about this book is each chapter is its own story. Some of the chapters I really wanted to hear more about, maybe delve into them a little deeper, so I would keep reading the next chapter thinking it would lead into the story deeper, but it would just start another one and get me hooked into that new character.
Joe Borri has a great way of describing the scene. You can picture the street, you can feel the warm breeze blowing on your face, you neck tightens up when he talks about a certain fight, and you need to make another drink when he describes the beautiful ladies the Wiseguys try to work over.
Many of the stories are set in the gritty streets of Detroit, where wiseguys and wannabes walk a thin line between good and evil. Some of these characters work their way "up north," where their street smarts are tested against the immutable forces of nature and the country folk who try and do things a little differently.
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