What a marvelous, fierce collection! --Margot Livesey, author of THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY
Who’d have thought we could enjoy such engagement, even entertainment, in some of the worst nightmares of life as a man in America? In the good cop breaking bad, the solid breadwinner who begins to lose, and lose, or the middle-aged middling success who, with one step outside the norms, might break his neck? Dewitt Henry skillfully computes the angle of fall for all those. In one freaky, brainy outlier of a tale, he even details the long drop of the great King Kong. Yet in Kong's case as in the dirt-beneath-the-nails realism of the two novella-length closers — each the rise and fall of an entire Rust Belt cityscape — Falling proves most moving in its grasp of the essential tragedy: the perversion of the dream once pure. --John Domini, author of MOVIEOLA
I'm pleased to be once again reading the fiction of DeWitt Henry, winner of the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel. His new collection, FALLING; SIX STORIES, is a fit companion to THE MARRIAGE OF ANNA MAYE POTTS.—Geoffrey Clark, author of TWO, TWO LILY-WHITE BOYS
These are stories with traction. Henry's writing immediately brought to mind the work of Richard Yates in terms of style, time periods, and deep characterizations. And, like Yates, he takes no prisoners. Nobody is let off the hook for bad behaviors and screw ups. These stories take the reader on a journey that is fully fleshed out. My favorites were those concerning men who are 'falling' in the sense of betraying their own values and subsequently ruining lives as they plunge forward toward some skewed ideal of personal happiness. Henry doesn't attempt to steer the reader. The stories are what they are: Lives. Told without an attempt at emotional pretense. Of my many favorites in this collection, the final story 'Come Get Me' is epic, spanning that time in history prior to WW2 and beyond. Most highly recommended.—Susan Tepper, author of THE MERRILL DIARIES
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...the rush and surge of ground beneath, against the elastic tug, then pulled up, jerk, hard, and the reverse energy heaving me up, up, uncontrollable, and dropping again to the limit, the surge, the jerk, and up again, but not as far, and the elastic slowing, the up, down dying, fading, until I am lowered into the hardness of the inflated pillow beneath, my feet sinking in moonwalk, wading through the rubbery, chafing, canvasy give of it, to the edge, where I reach around to unbuckle, and slide off the side to solid earth, wind blowing, normal sounds, and somewhere off there normal people watching, unexhilarated, inexperienced, pygmies as I stagger towards them.
from "King Kong's Own Story"
I pick up Momma Pet for a last look. They want me, not you. If I let them sting me, they will spare you. She makes no sound, wide-eyed, struggling in my grip. Silent. I put her down. I fondle her, one, two, three gentle strokes. Don't worry. I am dizzy. A flapper dives at me, stinging my throat so I gag and reel. I slump against the cone and fondle her once more, knowing it is finished. She will be safe. She will never forget. I pray for and bless her with all my being, my grief. They sting again. I grab my throat with both hands, gasp, off balance. Catch the tip with my right hand, left to my throat, still holding on; then slowly I can't hold on. I let go. Fall as I have never fallen.