Monday, August 15, 2016

Donald Ray Pollock

Donald Ray Pollock is an American writer. Born in 1954 and raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio, Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver until age 50, when he enrolled in the English program at Ohio State University. While there, Doubleday published his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff, and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in various literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard, Tin House, and PEN America.

Pollock's new novel is The Heavenly Table.

From his Q&A with Karen Brissette for the Los Angeles Review of Books:

Your work falls into that blurry subgenre of literary fiction with many colorful names: grit lit, hick lit, hillbilly noir, country noir, backwoods noir, rural gothic, etc. Do you have a preferred term for these kinds of stories?

The way I see it, labels are necessary as a way to describe a book or its genre in a nutshell; and though I really don’t have any preference, someone once called my stuff “Southern Ohio Gothic,” and I’m a little partial to that one.

Whatever you call it, why do you think these kinds of stories have been experiencing such a renaissance lately? What do you consider to be the lineage of the genre? Are there any authors you particularly admire that we should also be reading?

I’ve heard some people complain that they’re a little tired of reading fiction set on the East Coast or the West Coast, among the affluent and educated; and a lot of them, maybe because the majority of people or at least readers, live in urban areas, now look upon rural areas and characters as a bit, I don’t know, “refreshing.” Or at least not the same old stuff. As for the lineage of rural gothic, the simplified version as I see it would be Faulkner >...[read on]
Visit Donald Ray Pollock's website.

The Page 69 Test: Knockemstiff.

The Page 69 Test: The Heavenly Table.

--Marshal Zeringue