Dawkins, Curtis The Graybar Hotel: Stories

ISBN 13: 9781501162299

The Graybar Hotel: Stories

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9781501162299: The Graybar Hotel: Stories
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In this stunning debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence.

In Curtis Dawkins’s first short story collection, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration—he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face.

In “A Human Number,” a man spends his days collect-calling strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In “573543,” an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament against another unit. In “Leche Quemada,” an inmate is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling then he expected. Dawkins’s stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail—the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws.

The Graybar Hotel tells moving, human stories about men enduring impossible circumstances. Dawkins takes readers beyond the cells into characters’ pasts and memories and desires, into the unusual bonds that form during incarceration and the strained relationships with family members on the outside. He’s an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor, and this is a powerful compilation of stories that gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society.

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About the Author:

Curtis Dawkins grew up in rural Illinois and earned an MFA in fiction writing at Western Michigan University. He has struggled with alcohol and substance abuse through most of his life and, during a botched home robbery, killed a man on Halloween 2004. Since late 2005, he’s served a life sentence with no possibility of parole in various prisons throughout Michigan. He has three children with his partner, Kim, who is a writing professor living in Portland, Oregon. The Graybar Hotel is his first book.

Review:

"Almost every one of the 14 short stories in the collection seems to have originated from something Dawkins experienced or witnessed in jail or prison, and almost every one reflects with devastating compassion on the guilt and regrets of the criminals inside ... [The Graybar Hotel is] well-written and worth reading for Dawkins' craft and insight, but it's also an occasion to consider an industry that has little to do with rehabilitation, and that makes it nearly impossible for its participants to recuperate their lives."
Chicago Tribune

“Dawkins is a wickedly skilled storyteller . . . Despite its subject matter, The Graybar Hotel is ultimately uplifting . . . toughly courageous, unflinching, and unapologetic.”
O, the Oprah Magazine 

"[Dawkins's] prison stories are insightful and well written, and they ring true. Dawkins possesses the acquired wisdom of a man who's been there, done that and, unfortunately, is staying there."
Houston Chronicle

The Graybar Hotel by Curtis Dawkins: the best book of short stories by an MFA grad imprisoned for life you’ll read this year—or probably ever.” 
New York Magazine

"[A] book that is remarkable for its modesty, realism and humanity ... Dawkins has a genius for bringing characters to life and making mundane situations compelling, if only because they feel so real ... [Dawkins] has produced a book that is not only moving and genuine, but genuinely important; one that, without resorting to shock tactics, powerfully conveys the perverse inhumanity of mass incarceration."
The Guardian

“Dawkins can write. His prose skillfully carries the reader directly into the setting of all of his stories: the jailhouse or prison. He captures this unnatural and uniquely terrible world with precision and clarity. Most readers haven't spent time incarcerated; all will come away from this superb collection feeling as if they have.”
New York Journal of Books

"Dawkins brings us real news and art, employing strange conceits—inmates collect-calling strangers, or preparing for an intramural softball game, or acquiring the ability to disappear—to expose prison's most powerful weapon against minds and bodies: not violence, but boredom."
Vulture

"Reading The Graybar Hotel is as close as most people would ever want to get to going to prison. Dawkins’s characters are as indelible as the prison tattoos he describes with wry precision, from Depakote Mo to Doo-Wop to Jonnie Mae. The clichés about prison life—cigarettes as currency, strained race relations, a lot of television watching, and occasional violence—are deftly skirted here as Dawkins plays with the claustrophobia of his characters’ condition by moving in and out of their lives before and during incarceration. Dawkins, who is serving life without parole for murder, is a formidable new talent."
LitHub

"This short story collection explores the life of prisoners with both intoxicating and unparalleled insight and surprising humor."
Time Out

"[A] powerful collection of stories about how inmates survive and struggle in prison."
San Diego Magazine

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781786891112: The Graybar Hotel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1786891115 ISBN 13:  9781786891112
Publisher: Canongate Books, 2017
Hardcover

9781501162305: The Graybar Hotel: Stories

Scribner, 2018
Softcover

9781786891136: Graybar Hotel

Canong...
Softcover

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Book Description Scribner Book Company, United States, 2017. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this stunning debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence. In Curtis Dawkins's first short story collection, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration--he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face. In "A Human Number," a man spends his days collect-calling strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In "573543," an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament against another unit. In "Leche Quemada," an inmate is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling then he expected. Dawkins's stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail--the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws. The Graybar Hotel tells moving, human stories about men enduring impossible circumstances. Dawkins takes readers beyond the cells into characters' pasts and memories and desires, into the unusual bonds that form during incarceration and the strained relationships with family members on the outside. He's an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor, and this is a powerful compilation of stories that gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society. Seller Inventory # KNV9781501162299

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Book Description Scribner Book Company, United States, 2017. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this stunning debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence. In Curtis Dawkins's first short story collection, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration--he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face. In "A Human Number," a man spends his days collect-calling strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In "573543," an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament against another unit. In "Leche Quemada," an inmate is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling then he expected. Dawkins's stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail--the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws. The Graybar Hotel tells moving, human stories about men enduring impossible circumstances. Dawkins takes readers beyond the cells into characters' pasts and memories and desires, into the unusual bonds that form during incarceration and the strained relationships with family members on the outside. He's an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor, and this is a powerful compilation of stories that gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society. Seller Inventory # KNV9781501162299

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