The only display of civic pride evident in Donald Ray Pollock’s first book is a blue tattoo — the words “Knockemstiff, Ohio” — etched “like a road. Praise. “Knockemstiff is a powerful, remarkable, exceptional book.”—Los Angeles Times“More engaging than any new fiction in years.” —Chuck. To say author Donald Ray Pollock’s first book, Knockemstiff, is “gritty” is like calling Antarctica chilly. In Knockemstiff — named for the southern.

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Knockemstiff is a genuine entry into the literature of place. Spanning a period from the mid-sixties to konckemstiff late nineties, the linked stories that comprise Knockemstiff feature a cast of recurring characters who are irresistibly, undeniably real.

A father pumps his son full of steroids so knoclemstiff can vicariously relive his days as a perpetual runner-up body builder. A psychotic rural recluse comes upon two siblings committing incest and feels compelled to take action. Donald Ray Pollock presents his characters and the sordid goings-on with a stern intelligence, a bracing absence of value judgments, and a refreshingly dark sense of bottom-dog humor. They crept up on me, leaving me breathless and shaken.

It is an unforgettable experience.

Knockemstiff, Ohio

Pollock brings grace and precision to colloquial knockemstifr, and the ferocious integrity of his vision is flat-out stunning. Pollock grapples with savagery and reveals primal tenderness. After every story in Knockemstiff I had to take a walk and let my head cool down. This is a powerful talent at work. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

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Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Devil All the Time. Crimes in Southern Indiana: Where All Light Tends to Go. Anchor; Reprint edition March 10, Language: Start reading Knockemstiff on your Kindle in under a minute.

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Review: Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock | Books | The Guardian

The 18 gritty short stories here come at you hard and fast like a claw hammer fight in a bar parking lot. They are desperate, clinging to hope amidst their dying town and its disappearing dreams. This read is not for everyone. It will beat you up and leave you bruised and bloody, but always wanting more. Traditional it is not, and the pace fairly blisters through each of these dark trips through the side of Middle America that most only whisper about.

I spent time growing up in southern West Virginia, and most of these characters and places ring true to me. Pollock is brutally unforgiving, unsentimental, and without judgment. He leaves us with a sense of reality so cold and clear that it blindsides us and slaps us in the face. Pollock is the real deal. This is a collection of loosely related short stories that all take place in the rural holler of Knockemstiff, Ohio.

Tales that chronicle bleak lives of rural poverty. You will meet characters plagued by mental illness, obesity, roid rage, oxycotin addiction, alcoholism and much, much more. PBR, Pabst Blue Ribbon is the beer of choice for the denizens of Knockemstiff, but they sure aren’t the bearded urban hipsters who have hijacked that brand in recent years. These are the real consumers of PBR, before it became cool and ironic.

There is beauty in these stories, albeit harsh and gritty. These are uneducated and poor white people, struggling to survive in a cycle of poverty, addiction, dysfunction and often times violence.

There sure isn’t any white privilege going on here. What makes this book even more satisfying is that the author was actually from Knockemstiff. Knockemstiff is now not much more than a ghost town, and these tales will linger with you. I have already ordered another Donald Ray Pollock novel and cannot wait to receive his.

His writing is that good. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Probably the sickest, most depraved and cringe filled book I’ve ever read. I read things in here I did not want to know people even thought about doing. It covered every deranged topic from violence, drug addiction, abuse, child abuse, suicide, mental illness, traumatic brain injury to a disturbing chapter on Alzheimer’s.


Thanks to Jerry Garcia and enough LSD in the 80’s to make Satan weep, I have absolutely no short, intermediate or long term memory left. Which makes the chapter on Alzheimer’s all the more disturbing for me. However on the plus side I will have forgotten this book completely by weeks end. A series of stories about the beleaguered survivors of a small town in Ohio.

Staggeringly good writer who has written two other novels so far. All 3 must reads. Reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk but stands alone in its own right.

Not for the squeamish or for those who like things in neat little packages. This story has some odd and weird characters!! The book is a collection of stories about the people who live in Knockemstiff. Some are drunks, some are drug addicts, some are goofy, some are sex perverts, and more. Odd and more odd. The stories include poverty, fights, stealing, pills, bologna, old cars, selling blood, and more.

It is a bunch of scary stories. See all reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Pages with related products. See and discover other items: There’s a problem loading this menu right now.

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