Friday, November 16, 2007

Craig Davidson's "The Fighter"

Craig Davidson's stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, Event, Prairie Fire, and SubTerrain. His debut collection of stories, Rust and Bone, was called "remarkable ... challenging and upsetting, but never boring" by Chuck Palahniuk and "the best I've read in a long time from a young writer" by Bret Easton Ellis. He also writes horror fiction under a pseudonym.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to his novel The Fighter, and reported the following:
I’m not sure if this maxim really applies to my book. Certainly it would to many and certainly, depending on what you take away from my book as a reader, perhaps, weirdly, pg. 99 is emblematic of the book as a whole. Pg. 99 concerns the backstory of one-half of the two sets of characters making up the narrative: in this case, the Tully family — brothers Reuben and Tom, and Reuben’s boy Rob — who live in the Love Canal district of Niagara Falls where Rob(bie) is training to become a boxer. Does it speak for the book in general? I mean, most of the reader reaction I’ve had, be it good or bad, is in reference to the fight scenes, one of which — the final match — goes on for some ten pages. Those are, I suppose, the “showpieces” of a book written by a fellow, me, when he was in his late-twenties and probably over-interested in really going overboard or being terrifically visceral or something ... which is going to appeal to some readers at least in certain frames of mind, as indeed such books often appeal to me. But pg. 99 is one of the softer portions of the book, so someone picking it up and reading only that page might come away with the mistaken assumption there is much cute and cuddly about the work — which, in point of fact, in this book specifically, no, there is not. Hopefully in later books down the line I will be able to find a finer and more temperate balance between viscerality and softness, but with The Fighter that balance is skewed.
Read more about the author and the novel at the official website for The Fighter and at Craig Davidson's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue