Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Knockemstiff Paperback – March 10, 2009
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Amazon Significant Seven, March 2008: A quick Internet search for "Knockemstiff, Ohio" reveals a lazy nexus of shabby houses and dirt roads in southern Ohio, lacking a post office and grocery store, but rich in legends of epic fistfights and swamp-dwelling ghosts. Donald Ray Pollock, a native of this "ghost town," populates his own Knockemstiff with living revenants: huffers, murderers, sex fiends, and their hapless (though not innocent) victims, all tethered to the woebegone "holler" by their own self-inflicted shortcomings and depravities. Pollock pulls no punches--his prose is blunt and visceral, as well as stylish and skilled--and reading these mini grand guignols can be like crunching on a mouthful of your own broken teeth. He resists casting judgment (or sympathy) on his doomed reprobates; predator or prey (or sometimes both), Pollock contemplates his characters with all the warmth of a "frozen bleach bottle." It's an astonishing debut. --Jon Foro
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A native of Knockemstiff, Ohio, Pollock delivers poignant and raunchy accounts of his hometown's sad and stagnant residents in his debut story collection that may remind readers of its thematic grand-daddy, Winesburg, Ohio. The works span 50 years of violence, failure, lust and depravity, featuring characters like Jake, an abandoned hermit who dodges the draft during WWII, lives in a bus and discovers two young siblings committing incest on the bank of a creek, and Bobby, a recovering alcoholic who must face the imminent death of his abusive father. The language and imagery of the novel are shockingly direct in detailing the pitiful lives of drug abusers, perverts and a forgotten population that just isn't much welcome nowhere in the world. Many of the characters appear in more than one story, providing a gritty depth to the whole, but the character that stands out the most is the town, as dismal and hopeless as the locals. Pollock is intimate with the grimy aspects of a small town (especially one named after a fistfight) full of poor, uneducated people without futures or knowledge of any other way to live. The most startling thing about these stories is they have an aura of truth. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Stories that stand out for me include “Dynamite Hole,” about a young runaway who spends three years hiding in the woods of rural Ohio, “Blessed,” about an injured second story man hooked on pain meds, and “Honolulu,” about a man slowly losing his mind and his caregiver wife slowly losing the dreams of her youth.
Many of the characters in “Knockemstiff” appear in more than one story, lending an authentic layering depth of place. They are desperate, clinging to hope amidst their dying town and its disappearing dreams. This read is not for everyone. It will beat you up and leave you bruised and bloody, but always wanting more.
If there is a problem with “Knockemstiff” it is that there is very little if any letup. The haunting hopelessness is unrelenting, but maybe that is more a valid reflection of the characters’ circumstances than on any arguments about traditional style and pacing. Traditional it is not, and the pace fairly blisters through each of these dark trips through the side of Middle America that most only whisper about.
I spent time growing up in southern West Virginia, and most of these characters and places ring true to me. Pollock is brutally unforgiving, unsentimental, and without judgment. He leaves us with a sense of reality so cold and clear that it blindsides us and slaps us in the face. Pollock is the real deal. His second book and first full length novel “The Devil All the Time” is a must read as well.