Once You Break a Knuckle by D. W. Wilson

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...offers a collection of 12 stories about testosterone-fueled men in a small town...Wilson’s dark world can become monotonous, but there’s no denying its raw power.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In the remote Kootenay Valley in western Canada, good people sometimes do bad things. Two bullied adolescents sabotage a rope swing, resulting in another boy's death. A heartbroken young man chooses not to warn his best friend about an approaching car. Sons challenge fathers and break taboos.

Crackling with tension and propelled by jagged, cutting dialogue, D.W. Wilson's stories reveal to us how our best intentions can be doomed to fail or injure, how our loves can fall short or mislead us, how even friendship-especially friendship-can be something dangerously temporary. An intoxicating cocktail of adrenaline and vulnerability, doggedness and dignity, Once You Break a Knuckle explores the courage it takes just to make it through another day.
 

About D. W. Wilson

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D. W. Wilson was born and raised in the small towns of the Kootenay Valley, British Columbia. He is the recipient of the University of East Anglia's inaugural Man Booker Prize Scholarship - the most prestigious award available to students in the MA programme. His stories have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and 'The Dead Roads' won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. He lives in Cambridge. Once You Break a Knuckle, his debut story collection, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012. It was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. His debut novel, Ballistics, will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2013.
 
Published January 24, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Once You Break a Knuckle
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 05 2013

...offers a collection of 12 stories about testosterone-fueled men in a small town...Wilson’s dark world can become monotonous, but there’s no denying its raw power.

Read Full Review of Once You Break a Knuckle | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Sep 30 2013

This winds up being part of the problem: despite rich and specific details, it's those same details that give the collection a feeling of oversaturation.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Kyle Minor on Feb 28 2014

But it is the meandering that makes them feel so full of life. Wilson is never afraid to jettison the plot for a paragraph of digression...This yammerer’s freedom with story and time provides “Once You Break a Knuckle” with its most emotionally powerful moments...

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by John Burnside on May 18 2012

It is possible that there will never be a 12-story collection that surpasses Pancake's dozen short-form masterpieces, but Once You Break a Knuckle definitely stands in that company, and that is a massive achievement.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Steven W. Beattie on Sep 02 2011

The best stories on offer here are the ones that are entirely sui generis. The others feel like nothing so much as chapters in a novel searching for a through-line.

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