Cover image for Praying drunk : stories, questions
Title:
Praying drunk : stories, questions
Author:
Minor, Kyle.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Louisville, Kentucky : Sarabande Books, [2014]

©2014
Physical Description:
196 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
The characters in Praying Drunk speak in tongues, torture their classmates, fall in love, hunt for immortality, abandon their children, keep machetes beneath passenger seats, and collect porcelain figurines. A man crushes pills on the bathroom counter while his son watches from the hallway; missionaries clumsily navigate an uprising with barbed wire and broken glass; a boy disparages memorized scripture, facedown on the asphalt, as he fails to fend off his bully. From Kentucky to Florida to Haiti, these seemingly disparate lives are woven together within a series of nested repetitions, enacting the struggle to remain physically and spiritually alive throughout the untamable turbulence of their worlds. In a masterful blend of fiction, autobiography, and surrealism, Kyle Minor shows us that the space between fearlessness and terror is often very small.--From publisher description.
General Note:
"These stories are meant to be read in order"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
Contents:
"I wish my soul were larger than it is". The question of where we begin ; You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace ; The truth and all its ugly ; Glossolalia -- Seven stories about Sebastian of Kouláev-Ville -- Q&A -- The sweet life -- "As I fall past, remember me". There is nothing but sadness in Nashville ; First, the teeth -- In a distant country -- Q&A -- Suspended -- Lay me down in the blue grass.
ISBN:
9781936747634
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"I finished this book with my heart pounding and grateful, my coffee cold and my smile wide and crying like a baby."--Daniel Handler

The characters in Praying Drunk speak in tongues, torture their classmates, fall in love, hunt for immortality, abandon their children, keep machetes beneath passenger seats, and collect porcelain figurines. A man crushes pills on the bathroom counter while his son watches from the hallway; missionaries clumsily navigate an uprising with barbed wire and broken glass; a boy disparages memorized scripture, facedown on the asphalt, as he fails to fend off his bully. From Kentucky to Florida to Haiti, these seemingly disparate lives are woven together within a series of nested repetitions, enacting the struggle to remain physically and spiritually alive throughout the untamable turbulence of their worlds. In a masterful blend of fiction, autobiography, and surrealism, Kyle Minor shows us that the space between fearlessness and terror is often very small. Long before Praying Drunk reaches its plaintive, pitch-perfect end, Minor establishes himself again and again as one of the most talented younger writers in America.


Author Notes

Kyle Minor is the winner of the 2012 Iowa Review Prize for Short Fiction, the Tara M. Kroger Prize for Short Fiction, and the author of In Devil's Territory (Dzanc Books, 2008). He is also a three-time honoree in the annual Atlantic Monthly writing contest, and was named one of Random House's Best New Voices of 2006. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Salon.com, Best American Mystery Stories 2008, Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers , and Forty Stories: New Voices from Harper Perennial .


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Minor's first book of short fiction, In the Devil's Territory (2008), introduced a talented writer with a penchant for experimental repetition and extraordinary vision, whose characters struggle to contain or divulge the dark secrets faith and family conceal. This well-honed second book consists of a series of linked narratives dealing again with questions of religion and kin, spanning Kentucky, Florida, and Haiti. The book deserves to be read sequentially, not because it's arranged in chronological order but because characters and conceits recur, eventually coalescing into heartrending closure. In one instance, Minor tells the story of a son's suicide from multiple perspectives, spinning off seemingly peripheral characters, only to take up alternate points of view in subsequent stories. Elsewhere, a rational young man questions his romantic interest's spiritual awakenings, which include speaking in tongues and dangerous visions. Minor writes with the descriptive clarity of Denis Johnson, the jigsaw-like structuring of Sherwood Anderson, and the Appalachian acuity of Jayne Anne Phillips. Certainly one to read and enjoy and to watch for in the future.--Baez, Diego Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Similar to a great magic trick, the 13 stories in Minor's (In the Devil's Territory) latest lure reader investment with strong visuals while simultaneously pulling the rug out from underfoot with clever, literary sleights-of-hand. Though not necessarily linked in the traditional sense, there is a sequential order to the collection-ideas, locations, incidents, and characters echo as the volume chugs forward-and the result is an often dazzling, emotional, funny, captivating puzzle. At the heart of the book are the Haitian tales "Seven Stories About Sebastian of Koulev-Ville" and "In a Distant Country." Set within the same village, though separated by decades, the narratives follow the lives of missionaries and the natives they look to aid during the Duvalier dictatorship and after the 2010 earthquake. The ideas of trust and faith run deep, and these emotions bleed throughout the collection, particularly in the narratives concerning a character akin to the author, who frets over his musician brother (in "There Is Nothing but Sadness in Nashville"), his dying grandfather (in "First, the Teeth"), and his own convictions (in "You Shall Go Out with Joy and Be Led Forth with Peace" and its companion, "Suspended"). Minor's continuous play with form keeps the book fresh, despite a somewhat distracting presentation. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.