Thursday, April 10, 2008


Tonight Jen and I are going to hear a reading by Donald Ray Pollock. He recently had a collection of short stories published and is being hailed by many in some circles as the next important voice in literary fiction. I'm about halfway through his book and am a big fan and am looking forward to having him sign my copy and going all fanboy for a minute or two.

The thing that is difficult about the meeting is the subject matter of his stories. How do you go up to a man and tell them that you really enjoyed the story about incest and murder, but really related more to the young man traveling with the pedophile trucker who keeps feeding him speed? Or maybe admit that at certain points in multiple stories I have felt sick to my stomach.

To me, Knockemstiff (Pollock's book) is a horror novel even though it isn't even remotely in the same genre.

While I'm a big fan of all things zombie related, and horror movies in general, there isn't a whole lot that is scary anymore. Hillbillies scare me. Inbred, dangerous and violent men who waste away the hours in the parking lot of the local bowling alley scare me. While the stuff going down in these short stories is a bit over the top at times, it all is rooted in this grimy Southern Ohio reality that makes me believe every damn word. He really creeps me out.

So, maybe that's what I'll say tonight. "Hey, Donny Ray? You really frighten me, bro." I think he might like that.

I know I would.


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