by Donald Ray Pollock
What is Knockemstiff, you may ask? It’s a collection of stories concerning the citizens of a small insignificant town called Knockemstiff, OH, a spec on the map with a world full of pain and misery. It’s provocative, it’s real life scary, it’s dismal, it’s one of the best fiction story collections I’ve ever read. I was hoping one of the characters would make it out of that hell hole of a failing town, but most of the stories ended grimly. It’s real hardcore stuff, drug addiction, alcoholism, bullies and big mouths, dreamers and thieves, mentally disturbed and smart people, all succumb to the pit that is Knockemstiff. It’s a miserable place where born losers die hard and all who try and escape are entangled in the spider’s web. It’s an excellent read for those strong enough to experience the gritty under belly of America. Highly Recommended.
I’d like to leave you with two lines from the book to give you a feel for the writing.
“A damp, gray sky covered southern Ohio like the skin of a corpse.”
“…anything I do to extend my life is just going to be outweighed by the agony of living it.”
Donald Ray Pollock, Knockemstiff
Donald Ray says of his hometown, (paraphrased) this is a work of fiction and there are good people in the real town of Knockemstiff.
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