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gives a harrowingly deadpan account of the tedium, casual violence and deviant sex that connect a surreal, semi-rural childhood with adult urban neurosis. Terse flashes of narrative, told from the point of view of a troubled youth, provide a stark sketch of an American family on the brink: a gun-toting father prone to inexplicable rages; a mother who speaks in ineffectual, half-remembered Chinese homilies; siblings rendered almost mute from excessive bleakness. And there's the narrator himself, who responds to the torment of home and neighborhood bullies with increasingly aberrant behavior, including sexual bondage and a form of pyromania that requires placing a paper bag over one's head and igniting it. In spare, unrelenting prose that has been honed to a point, Rutkowski ferrets out the hard bone of absurdity at the center of emotional displacement. Thaddeus Rutkowski
grew up in central Pennsylvania and now lives in New York. His work has been published in numerous publications, including Fiction magazine and The New York Times. He is a winner of the Nuyorican Poets Café's Poetry Slam.
"[Rutkowski's] sulfuric tale of family breakdown and fetishism chronicles the confusion and opacity of traumatic childhood even as it criticizes the American society that tolerates such inhumanity."-- Publishers Weekly
"Rutkowski gives us a novel in bites and slices: sharp, shocking, and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Here is gall with gusto, a voice of reckoning, and writing to be reckoned with." -- Molly Peacock
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