The only display of civic pride evident in Donald Ray Pollock’s first book is a blue tattoo — the words “Knockemstiff, Ohio” — etched “like a road. “More engaging than any new fiction in years.” —Chuck Palahniuk An unforgettable work of fiction that peers into the soul of a tough Midwestern. The majority of the inhabitants of Knockemstiff, Ohio – a town so insignificant it has long since vanished from any map – seem straight out of.

Author: Kazrabar Yozshugis
Country: Comoros
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Technology
Published (Last): 6 November 2004
Pages: 77
PDF File Size: 3.96 Mb
ePub File Size: 9.66 Mb
ISBN: 573-8-89227-795-5
Downloads: 83846
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Daidal

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. You never know in this crazy world, though; maybe Tarantino will find a copy on a toilet tank one day and decide to direct a film version, and then I can buy one of those hideous movie tie-in paperback reprints.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to nod hello to the rest of the drunks, drug addicts, rapists, racists, and murderers. Copyright by Donald Ray Pollock. Knockemstiff is a genuine entry into the literature of place. I’ll put it on my all-time faves list.

Pollock’s stories bear witness to another quote by Gilles Deleuze donsld I hold true, that being, “The law of the world, and more generally the law of language, is that A first book of short stories that will immediately conjure up an almost voodoo-like presence producing visions of Flannery O’Connor in the room. I just can’t stand my boss”.

Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock

Behold brisk tales of abusive daddies, huffers, whores, country-fried criminals knockemstifff incestuous chillun. Every morning my mother turned the kitchen radio to KB98 and listened to Miss Sally Flowers pray for a thunderstorm.

If you like this genre, this is a sure entertainer. Personally speaking, I did enjoy the trips enough to give this four stars. Daniel liked to pretend that anyway. Even after I’d swallowed all the blood, I kept licking my hands. View all 12 comments.

I also believe it’s the cold comfort that’s derived from knowing humans are survivors no matter what. Jan 09, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: The author worked in a paper mill for decades, so you know he’s the real deal. It seems that every review I’ve read uses two phrases to describe this collection: Mar 10, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: In some ways this thing is hard to digest because it hits so close to home.


Pollock wrote this collection before the advent of reality television, and although he claims this is a total work knockdmstiff fiction based upon a real place, all the reader needs to do is watch an episode of whatever dreck reality TV vomits that week to realize that oh yes, these fictional characters only scratch the surface.

Some people I’ve talked with about this book have suggested it’s too brutal for them to read in long stretches but I found that Pollack’s bleak narratives were often spiced up with enough strange details and gut-busting humor to make these tales quite entertaining. All Americans come from Ohio originally, if only briefly. To ask other readers questions about Knockemstiffplease sign up.

A midwestern trip through the town knocke,stiff Knockemstiff and the connected lives of it’s hard knock, country denizens.

If you try to speed through Knockemstiff in a few days, like I did the first time I read it back in springyou may have to fight back the urge to curl up on the bathroom floor and not talk to anyone for about a week. 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.

I can’t recommend this book enough. You get the worst of the worst characters here involved in incest, murder and drugs but too many doses, would have been a whole lot better less doses of characters and longer stories. The Best Novels.


You cannot but feel respect for a man who decided to completely change his life and get out of knockemstiiff menial job he where he has been working for decades. I’m glad it’s over.

Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. The authors know these characters and so do you. I tore at the skin with my teeth. Jan 17, Kemper rated it really liked it Shelves: Of course, the town stays the same, and all characters use the same small convenience store, the only one they have available. Yet Pollock’s portrayals are non-judgmental and strangely appealing. However, Pollocks’s work is original and stands on its own; drawing from his own experiences and imagination he creates a memorable setting, characters and scenes that are bound to stay in memory.


Human beings are varied. All eighteen start out like this, shockingly yet beautifully. I experienced each story as a distinct entity with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. His prose pulls no punches, and several of his sad townsfolk appear in more than one story.

‘Knockemstiff’ Writer Pulls No Punches

Nov 29, Pollock rated it it was amazing Shelves: A psychotic rural recluse comes upon two siblings committing incest and feels compelled to take action. Reading this book isn’t an easy trip, but if you can hang on knoockemstiff the end, I dare you to try and forget it anytime soon.

Rather than briefly describe each story, some of which would be hard to do without spoilers, I thought I would just touch on a few of my favorites to give you a sense of the material. The stories are sometimes interrelated, some characters guest star in multiple stories and the book is bookended and anchored towards the middle with stories about one particular family.

Here knoclemstiff a few of my favorites. Feb 28, Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing Shelves: Characters tend to weave in and out of the stories like pesky moths.

Here’s a Life Coaching tip: Mar 18, Pages Buy. I’m not willing to pay 50 bucks for it, Amazon, but if someone comes across it in a thrift store or at an estate sale, pleaseplease pick it up for me.

I’m definitely not the biggest John Waters fan you’ll ever meet, and I barely made it through Gummo – though I’ll grant that the chair-wrestling scene is one of the most amazing displays of misplaced machismo bullshit ever committed to film.

Related Posts