Once You Break a Knuckle: Stories Hardcover – 12 Apr 2012
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D.W. Wilson's stories have a wonderfully raw, vernacular energy which carries the reader through some dark and spitefully funny moments. This is a cracking read (Jon McGregor)
"The Dead Roads" was the stand-out winner of the 2011 BBC Short Story Award. My worry was that it might also be the stand-out story in this debut collection, but no - the standard is consistently, astonishingly high throughout. There are echoes of Wells Tower and Russell Banks, but Wilson's voice is distinctive, confident and completely enthralling (Geoff Dyer)
Excellent Canadian short stories ... Poignant (John Burnside, Scotsman Books of the Year)
Robust, musical, slyly funny, and shining a fearless light into the yearning male heart, these powerful stories should be required reading for any curious females of the species (Bill Glaston)
There are indeed echoes of Richard Ford and Raymond Carver here - most strikingly Carver, in content certainly - but Wilson's description and dialogue also attain the same lean, elemental punch, a total and exhilarating exclusion of the extraneous (Globe and Mail)
Macho Mounties, Boyish Boyz + Beers, Tough Times. + good writing (Margaret Atwood, Twitter)
Spiky, gritty short stories ... Wilson's world is dangerous and unpredictable, and his writing has a terrific, understated force (Kate Saunders The Times)
This is one of the finest pieces of debut fiction I've encountered in the last few years, and with it DW Wilson takes his place with other North American writers such as David Vann and Daniel Woodrell in eking out savage grace and empathy through muscular prose and the desperate circumstances of his characters ... all of the stories deal with the machismo ever present in such communities, but they do so in a beautifully rounded, three-dimensional way ... Wilson is fantastic at that old creative writing adage of 'show, don't tell', managing to speak volumes fort the state of mind of his characters simply by the way they handle a tool belt, slug a beer or slip their truck into gear ... throughout this collection, Wilson's prose is whittled down to the bone yet still carries an intense, visceral power. The economy and precision of his language will be the envy of many more experienced writers, and there is real literary skill on show here, Wilson imbuing his tales with a fist-clenching lyricism and a deeply felt pathos. At times, the emotional tension and downtrodden bleakness are almost overpowering, but Wilson always somehow manages to temper these with a little hope, a little humanity, a little dignity. This is a really exceptional debut, and an emphatic calling card from a genuine talent. I can't wait to read what he writes next (Sunday Herald)
A singular gift for combining taut, highly economical observations of men in their day to day lives with real tenderness and a restrained lyricism about the natural world - it is this ability that one finds in DW Wilson ... a massive achievement (Guardian)
Superb debut collection of stories from the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award (Sunday Times)
A collection of muscular short stories(Guardian)
Hugely accomplished debut ... A superb vision of entire lives played out against the stifling yet homely backdrop of an isolated community. Wilson leaves an unforgettable mark in his sublimely judged depiction of boys and men tussling with one another (Sunday Times)
The debut collection by the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2011See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a tough, unsophisticated world, populated by everyday men, good and bad, brave and cowardly. They are interested in firearms, alcohol, cars and women. They strive to redeem themselves and realise their limited ambitions, while struggling against the reality of their lives.
Great writing opens up a world, makes its characters real, and leaves you feeling as if you have known them all their lives. I enjoyed this book more than anything else I have read in the last twelve months.
At one level the stories represent a really well written, thought provoking insight into the macho world of backwater Canada, and at the other it is simply a really challenging and sometimes not massively rewarding read. The challenge is compounded by the fact that what we have are a collection of linked stories that are not set out in a chronological order, which left me (for one) struggling to understand how they fitted together and hence extract any feel for what the story cycle itself says.
In summary, a collection of stories that at times gripped me with the power of the writing, but at other times left me rather confused and cold.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoy short stories. These were set in British Columbia, Canada. The characters were true to life and reappeared in other stories in the collection. Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2013 by William Jones
Could easily have given up on this. Only continued as don't like to leave books unfinished.
More suitable read for men than women in my opinion
Very elementary writing style. I actually quit out of boredom. I did not wish to devote time to this book.Published on 1 Oct. 2013 by K D Connelly
An engaging and exciting read - revealing about masculine needs and behaviours. The way the stories interlink is interesting and made me want to start reading all over again as... Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2013 by dorcas
Not usually a fan of short stories but these are absolutely brilliant. Without using too many words the writer transports the reader to the time and place and give an insight into... Read morePublished on 9 Sept. 2013 by Kitty Jackson
I seldom give up on books. Once You Break A Knuckle is the kind of book that makes me think I ought to do so more often. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2013 by MisterHobgoblin
I felt this book was directed at a male audience. I could not relate to the characters. Glad I did not pay full pricePublished on 30 Aug. 2013 by chocoholic
The text seemed to be nothing but fast talking clichés, and lacked substance. I gave up on it very quickly.Published on 13 Aug. 2013 by para3drop