Benjamin Percy’s fourth book and second novel, Red Moon, takes everything enjoyable about Percy’s fiction and cranks up the dials. It’s a rollicking, tightly plotted, hirsute good read that takes the classic werewolf trope and drops it into a modern Homeland-esque political landscape.
Fresh from a relationship with a feminist scholar, I was on guard against Shann Ray’s American Masculine before I even cracked its spine. With a title like that, I thought, you’d better have a gay man in Chelsea, a drag queen in Flint, a straight man watching a hired man wash his yacht, a man living out of the back of a Volvo in a Wal-Mart parking lot, a Hispanic man washing dishes, a Hispanic man climbing the corporate ladder; you’d better provide one heckova Whitmanian catalog of Masculinity in the U.S. of A. My suspicions only deepened as I […]
Friends say they saw our bromance bloom. I took them aside and said, admiringly, “that Nick Ostdick is alright.” Nick took them aside and said, wistfully, “Shawn seems like a cool dude.” There was a beer here, a beer there, always with chaperones. Then mano-a-mano happy hours that spilled into dinners that spilled into the manliest of frozen desserts that spilled into more happy hours. His fiancé called me his man-wife and warned me not to take him away. I was a groomsman in his wedding; he listened to my unnecessary dating life bemoanings. When I left for a semester […]
The title of Jim Shepard’s latest collection, You Think That’s Bad, could also be a creative mantra. Here the veteran writer discusses his research process, the apocalyptic state of the world, the (possible) irrelevancy of literature to the apocalypse, his epic mustache—and other matters of importance.
This week’s feature is Miracle Boy and Other Stories, by Pinckney Benedict. Published this year by Press 53, the collection features a misfit cast of characters from the mountains of West Virginia. Known by names like “Lizard” and “mudman,” their very out-thereness commands the respect of reader. These backwoods folk may be wildly different from your friends and neighbors, but Benedict makes them impossible to ignore or dismiss, so vividly drawn they refuse easy definitions. Benedict is the author of two previous story collections, Town Smokes and The Wrecking Yard, and a novel, Dogs of God. Miracle Boy has been […]
Shawn Mitchell gets under the hood of Pinckney Benedict’s Miracle Boy and Other Stories to see how the author manages to pack an apocalypse into each story. In his newest book, Benedict revisits his Appalachian heritage and peoples it with mythological bulls, dogs, mudmen, and robots.
Shawn Mitchell talks to Elif Batuman and Geoff Dyer (and they talk to each other) about obsession and addiction, the permeable line between labeling work fiction or nonfiction, Stendahl syndrome, and future projects.