In a review of his first collection, The Convulsion Factory, esteemed critic Stanley Wiater stated, “This writer knows where the sad people, the bad people, and the mad people live.” Indeed. For his expansive command of characters as well as the situations, from the visionary to the grittily mundane, in which he finds them, and for his lyrically crafted prose and skewed perspectives (not to mention his penchant for run-on sentences), Hodge has racked up an eclectic list of comparisons: from Elmore Leonard to Clive Barker, from Honoré Daumier to David Cronenberg, from Carl Jung to Marilyn Monroe*.
Now comes his most far-reaching collection yet, 150,000 words chronicling the people, places, and things that his readers have come to expect, but never predict: The dancer who becomes the latest repository for the fervent sexuality that fueled the world’s most ancient cities. The serial killer whose grasp of media symbiosis puts him light-years ahead of the law. The modern-day castrato learning undreamt-of lessons in love, death, and divine madness. The Civil War veteran living a grotesque twist on the Old West myth of the outlaw who never takes off his gun belt.
William Faulkner once noted that writers are congenital liars … that if they weren’t liars, they would never have become writers in the first place. In that spirit, Brian Hodge has been enthusiastically lying ever since his earliest mastery of the alphabet, guided by only one stipulation:
Never letting a trivial thing like the facts get in the way of the ugly truth.
* Sadly, the Monroe comparison is a total fabrication.
Stories included in this collection:
“The 121st Day of Sodom”
“Cancer Causes Rats”
“Some Other Me”
“Before the Last Snowflake Falls”
“An Autumnal Equinox Folly”
“Far Flew the Boast of Him”
“Now Day Was Fled As the Worm Had Wished”
“Pages Stuck By a Bowie Knife to a Cheyenne Gallows”
“Driving the Last Spike”
“Our Lady of Sloth and Scarlet Ivy”
“The Last Testament”
“The Alchemy of the Throat”
“Come Unto Me, All Ye Heavy Laden”
“Endnotes: From the Gutters of Civilization to Your Discerning Eye”