Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock

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Synopsis

In this unforgettable work of fiction, Donald Ray Pollock peers into the soul of a tough Midwestern American town to reveal the sad, stunted but resilient lives of its residents. Knockemstiff is a genuine entry into the literature of place.Spanning a period from the mid-sixties to the late nineties, the linked stories that comprise Knockemstiff feature a cast of recurring characters who are irresistibly, undeniably real. A father pumps his son full of steroids so he can vicariously relive his days as a perpetual runner-up body builder. A psychotic rural recluse comes upon two siblings committing incest and feels compelled to take action. Donald Ray Pollock presents his characters and the sordid goings-on with a stern intelligence, a bracing absence of value judgments, and a refreshingly dark sense of bottom-dog humor.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Donald Ray Pollock

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DONALD RAY POLLOCK, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, made his literary debut in 2008 with the critically acclaimed short story collection Knockemstiff. He worked as a laborer at the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, from 1973 to 2005.
 
Published March 18, 2008 by Anchor. 226 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Knockemstiff

Kirkus Reviews

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Throughout, Pollock shows deep empathy for these whipped and battered souls, most looking not so much for a way out as for a way to let it all slide.

Jan 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

The New York Times

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Donald Ray Pollock has followed his 2008 short-story collection, “Knockemstiff,” with a novel, also set in the Ohio town of that redolent name.

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

The New York Times

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A collection of linked stories centers on a rural town and the depraved misfits who live there.

Mar 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

The Guardian

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Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop The majority of the inhabitants of Knockemstiff, Ohio - a town so insignificant it has ...

Jul 26 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

BC Books

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Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4 — Page 5 — Page 6 — Page 7 — Page 8 — Page 9

Apr 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

BC Books

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Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4 — Page 5 — Page 6 — Page 7 — Page 8 — Page 9

Apr 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

BC Books

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Frankie kept whispering to a beer can that he held in his hand like a microphone, and I had struggled off and on all that day to convince myself that it wasn’t talking back to him.” Here’s another typical interlude: “Some ugly bastard named Tex Colburn caught me in the Paint Creek bottoms pickin...

Apr 05 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Examiner

These are not the typical sweet home town stories, and the characters are not the typical sweet home town characters.

Aug 03 2009 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Book Reporter

“I Start Over” is another story that haunts, taking place for the most part in a drive-through line at a Dairy Queen, where Big Bernie Givens, self-described as “stuck in southern Ohio like the smile on a dead clown’s [butt],” finds his own bad decisions and those of others --- particularly his s...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

The Bookbag

A dark book, a hopeless book, a scary book in it's claim for reality, for hidden secrets in the life we lead and for the life we'd rather not know about.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

USA Today

The raunchy, blue-collar characters in Donald Ray Pollock's debut story collection, Knockemstiff, specialize in messing up.They mess up their own lives and the lives of the people around them.

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Scotsman.com

The content of the stories – a thuggish father cajoling his son into a fight, a hobo rapist with learning difficulties, a bored teenager masturbating over his sister's doll – would seem to indicate familiar if gruesome literary territory.

Jul 04 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Bookmarks Magazine

Sharon Martell Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars "[R]eaders needn’t share Pollock’s bleak perspective to fall under the spell of this book’s heady mix of grime, action and suicidal tendencies."

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Chamber Four

The current Wikipedia entry for Knockemstiff, Ohio labels the community a “ghost town.” While its handful of corporeal residents would dispute the tag, Donald Ray Pollock’s short story collection won’t make you want to drop by and discuss with them the vagaries of collaborative reference guides— ...

Apr 13 2009 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Fiction Writers Review

Donald Ray Pollock’s debut collection Knockemstiff begins with an epigraph from satirist Dawn Powell: “All Americans come from Ohio originally, if only briefly.” And yet, when it comes to Knockemstiff, Ohio—Pollock’s hometown and the purgatorial setting for these eighteen gritty stories—the fict...

Sep 21 2008 | Read Full Review of Knockemstiff

Project MUSE

In journalism, a story like that of Donald Ray Pollock sometimes is called a "readymade."

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Reader Rating for Knockemstiff
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 209 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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