Barry Graham's nonfiction is a unique hybrid of hard reporting and harsh autobiography. Since 1995, his home base has been Phoenix, Arizona, a sprawling desert metropolis where development, corruption and violence have grown together, aided and abetted by a dysfunctional media.
Since moving to the U.S. from his native Scotland, Graham has staked out the Southwest as his territory, and written about it in a way that no one else has. His is not the Southwest of scenic natural wonders, petroglyphs and ancient Indian civilizations juxtaposed with modern spiritual seekers. His is the Southwest as gritty emblem of 21st Century America, of urban blight and the dispossessed, of the people left behind.
Graham writes with corrosive honesty, giving no quarter to anyone, especially himself. This book contains his award-winning story of the two executions he has witnessed, along with other pieces that form a beautiful and terrifying portrait of a civilization in the process of collapse.
"Graham has a visual style and writerly voice that are all his own: timely, urban and powerful."
About the Author
“The awesome Barry Graham” - American Book Review Barry Graham is an author, journalist, screenwriter, poet and blogger whose dark and gritty urban novels have received international acclaim and whose reporting has helped more than one corrupt politician leave office. His nonfiction has been published in a diversity of magazines and newspapers, including Harper’s, Flaunt, Parabola, Las Vegas Life, The Arizona Republic and Scotland on Sunday. His blog, Illusory Flowers in an Empty Sky, contains reporting and commentary on politics, critical theory, the death penalty, urbanism, sustainability, books, films and Zen practice. He is also a Zen monk, and serves as the Abbot of The Sitting Frog Zen Center. His book of Zen teachings, Kill Your Self: Life After Ego, was published in 2011. His most recent novel, When It All Comes Down to Dust, was published in January 2012. He has witnessed two executions in Florence, Arizona, at the invitation of the prisoners. His account of that experience won a FOLIO Silver Medal in the Best Single Article category, and is included in his nonfiction book Why I Watch People Die. Barry Graham’s other books include the novels The Wrong Thing, The Book of Man (chosen by the American Library Association as one of the best books of 1995), Before, How Do You Like Your Blue-Eyed Boy? and Of Darkness and Light, the story collections Scumbo and Get Out As Early As You Can, and a poetry collection, Traffic and Murder. His stories have been published in the anthologies Phoenix Noir, Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail, Suspect Device and Intoxication. His short screenplay Holding Back the Dawn was produced in 2001. In 2009, the French magazine Transfuge named Barry Graham one of the great “post-realist” authors. Two collections of his novels and stories, Regarde Les Hommes Mourir and Les Nuits Blanches D’Edimbourg, are published in French by Treizième Note Editions.