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Rust and Bone: Stories Hardcover – November 14, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Like author Thom Jones in the story collection The Pugilist at Rest 1993) and novelist Marc Bojanowski in The Dog Fighter (2004), Davidson's eight short stories home in on men addicted to action, depicting boxers, basketball players, and gamblers in kinetic, ferociously detailed prose. In the title story, a boxer mournfully chants the names of the 27 bones that make up the human hand, all of which he has broken in the course of a career that now sees him fighting in ever-seedier venues. He sees the beauty of boxing even as he admits that his fights are a matter of survival and atonement for past sins. In "A Mean Utility," ad executive James Paris, frustrated by his and his wife's attempts to conceive, displaces his paternal feelings onto his pit bull, Matilda. He overmatches her with a vicious rottweiler, then experiences a change of heart, wading into the fray to save his pup and losing a chunk of his leg in the process. Davidson matches his stellar, energetic descriptions of physical confrontation with subtle, quirky explorations of human motivation. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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The stories are often grim and sad, which can be wearying after a while, but the freshness of the writing (Davidson is precise and colorful with language like Denis Johnson is and this makes his descriptions vivid) and the uniqueness of the tales made me return for more until I finished.
One story is about a sea world performer who has his leg accidentally torn off by a killer whale, another is about an ex-boxer -- who'd inadvertently killed an opponent in the ring -- who now trains up-and-comers in Thailand. Yet another is about two adults who reunite with their magician father 25 years after the idiosyncratic conjurer literally disappeared from their lives during a magic show.
Davidson's stories are about what happens to people when life doesn't work out the way they supposed it should. How do individuals handle adversity and what does the fallout feel like? This is at the heart of each of Davidson's powerful stories. His narratives are wise, original and thought-provoking. Recommended.
"Rust and Bone" is everything that it is hyped up to be, from all good reviews here on Amazon.com, to the praise on the front cover from Chuck Palahniuk (author of "Fight Club"), to the praise on the back cover from Bret Easton Ellis (author of "American Psycho).
There are eight excellent stories in the book, a few related by the most minor factors. The story topics range from boxing, magic, dog fighting, a repo man, a basketball prodigy, a aquarium show whale rider, to a hardcore sex addict!
Rust and Bone (4/5 stars)
The Rifleman (4/5 stars)
A Mean Utility (5/5 stars, gut wrenching stuff, an eye opener)
Rocket Ride (5/5 stars)
On Sleepless Roads (5/5 stars)
Friction (5/5 stars, the story about the sex addict, this story is everything Chuck Palahniuk's book "Snuff" should have been (sorry Chuck), the only "funny" story in the book)
Life in the Flesh (4/5 stars)
The Apprentice's Guide to Modern Magic (5/5 stars, longest story in the book, great writing with a strong finish)
Craid Davidson is a great writer, I recommend this book to anyone who likes short stories that keep you on the edge of your seat!
Brilliant, humane and profound, collection of short stories, about life and the cards it deals us and the way we cope with them.
Very well written, thought provoking ( and well edited, which is not always the case, regretfully for us readers )
Give it a go. Strongly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
I can see where it would have a lot of appeal to certain readers;but I suspect many would find it not their...Read more