Jared Yates Sexton’s The Hook and the Haymaker is new from Split Lip Press. Dug his last joint, An End to All Things and looking forward to getting into this one. Blurb from his site:
In 2012 Atticus Books released An End To All Things, Jared Yates Sexton’s acclaimed debut collection of stories. Called “invigorating” and “shades of Barry Hannah, Raymond Carver, and Breece D’J Pancake,” it was lauded byThe Portland Book Review as “the beginning of a long literary career.” Here, his next installment of stories, The Hook and The Haymaker, twenty-three award-winning pieces that have appeared in The Southern Humanities Review, Night Train, Verdad, PANK, Midwestern Gothic, among other prominent magazines and publications from around the country.
This book picks up right where Sexton’s debut left off with hard-hitting, gritty glimpses into an America that too-often goes unseen. Set in sweat-saturated sparring rings, the backrooms of gas station speakeasies, and the kitchens of the houses down the street, witness here the untold tales of the losers and the should’ve-beens, the dreamers and the hustlers, all of them just spoiling for their turn at glory or the inevitable one-two punch that puts them down for good.
Jared Yates Sexton’s An End to All Things immediately appealed to me when it arrived last month. This collection is stocked with short, precise, unpretentious stories. Great sentences—shades of Hannah, Carver, Pancake. I’ve read about half a dozen so far, parceling them out over spare afternoon minutes and it’s good stuff—feels real without the strains of literary realism. You can read a story at publisher Atticus Books’ site, “You Never Ask Me About My Dreams” (great title). The first few paragraphs:
At that point things had been rough for a couple of months and I would’ve done anything to ease the tension. I set an alarm for half an hour earlier than usual. I thought if I had some breakfast going when Cathy got up she’d have to see that I cared.
After all, cooking wasn’t the easiest thing to do in our house. Both of us hated dishes so the kitchen was always a mess. There were pots and pans stacked on the counters and plates in the sink. Some still had clumps of food stuck to them. I even had to rinse out a bowl to use. Somehow there were a couple of clean forks and knives in the drawer. I got some eggs from the fridge and went to work scrambling the yolks.