Miracle Boy and Other Stories
by Pinckney Benedict
9 x 6 paperback, 260 pages
Pinckney Benedict grew up on his family’s dairy farm in the mountains of southern West Virginia. He has published two previous collections of short fiction (Town Smokes and The Wrecking Yard) and a novel (Dogs of God). His stories have appeared in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, StoryQuarterly, Ontario Review, the O. Henry Award series, the New Stories from the South series, the Pushcart Prize series, The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, and The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction. He is the recipient, among other prizes, of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Literary Fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a Michener Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, a Individual Artist grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and Britain’s Steinbeck Award. He is a professor in the English Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.
Praise for Miracle Boy and Other Stories
Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize winner for Olive Kitteridge
“These are amazing stories. They contain the exquisite beauty of poetry and the dense muscularity of a language that takes the reader to breathtaking heights. Never complaining, or flinching, Pinckney Benedict presses us right against the variety of human experience in ways I've never seen before. There is not a story here that is not the real thing.”
Robert Polito, National Book Critics Circle Award and Edgar Award-winning author of Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson
“The Pinckney Benedict of Miracle Boy and Other Stories is a devastating writer, dark and electric. His stories emerge from inside a vividly scrutinized everyday of farms, machines, animals, houses, families, and vulnerable, incongruous human bodies, yet Benedict’s persistent skill is to insinuate another rival world interior and original to any familiar observation, protocol, and ritual. These scenarios of tacit menace and routine wonder originate with a cold-eyed acknowledgement of personal or collective limits—as a man here is typically half-asked, half-told, you’ve never been much of anywhere, have you?—only to radiate outward into dreams, fantasy, marvels, terrors, and vision. Desolation, self-deception, and wreckage is never far away and, though rescue and doom might look interchangeable, neither is grace. Along the way, Benedict focuses some of the most ecstatic and elegiac performances in recent American fiction."
Ron Rash, author of Serena
“Pinckney Benedict has long been one of my favorite writers, and this stunning collection is further confirmation of not only an immense talent with language but also, and equally impressive, a deep and abiding humanity that makes Benedict's characters and their hardscrabble lives all the more unforgettable.”
Kyle Minor, author of In the Devil's Territory
“When did Pinckney Benedict become the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink crazy man we see here? Some kind of latter-day Chaucer-meets-Gogol-meets-Donne-meets-Ray-Bradbury-meets-Albert-Goldbarth somewhere in the back corner of the library, where Jim Shepard is crouched empathetically over his history books and Nabokov runs his magnifying glass over his butterfly collection. Miracle Boy is a book of stories unafraid to parse the Biblical, the fabulist, the spaceman-ish, the science-y, the mythic, the genred, and the mechanical rabbited. This is the way literature used to roll.”
Meet Cover Artist Jake Mahaffy
Jake Mahaffy is a filmmaker and artist whose low-budget films have shown in festivals worldwide. He currently teaches at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. Some of his work can be seen at burnbarrelfilms.com.
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