Update

Man. Shit. I haven’t updated this site in a long time. Have a bunch of stuff I’ve been wanting to post here since March; I hope I remember it all. A couple of other things first: I’m reading at TurnRow Books in Greenwood, MS before a presentation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross on 8/13 at 6:45 p.m. I’ll also be on the Short Stories Panel at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, MS on 8/22.

1. Back in March, my second book, a short story collection called Death Don’t Have No Mercy, came out. Megan Abbott, hero and pal, had these kind things to say about it:

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2. I did the Book Talk podcast with Stephen Usery in Memphis. Listen here.

3. David Bowles said some swell things about Death Don’t Have No Mercy and Broken River Books over at The Monitor. He thought the stories were “evocative of James Cain,” which means a hell of a lot to me.

4. Rob Hart, who just put out a terrific debut novel called New Yorked, made a list of Five Great Books About New York City and included Gravesend. It lifted my heart to see my book up there on The Daily Beast with books by some of my heroes.

5. For a minute there, back at the end of April, I somehow had the top-selling book in Mississippi according to The Clarion-Ledger. I’m not sure how it’s even possible, but it’s the only time I’ll ever see my name at the top of a list like this, so I’ll take it.

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6. Here’s Death Don’t Have No Mercy on Jack Pendarvis’s recommendation shelf at Square Books.

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7. Noir at the Bar Oxford 2 was a big success. Seems like a long damn time ago already. I have some photos from the event, more than last time anyway. I won’t post them here, but they’re on my Instagram if you want to check them out. Great night.

8. Some kind words about Gravesend from Philip David Alexander, author of Peacefield, over at Goodreads: “This is a dark gem of a book that will more than satisfy fans of David Goodis, George V. Higgins, Richard Price and Daniel Woodrell.” Full review here.

9. I was home in Brooklyn for a couple of weeks and took a lot of pictures. Most are up on my Instagram page. Here are a couple I didn’t post there. This train platform is the D station at 25th Avenue in my neighborhood, where the last scene in Gravesend takes place.

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10. Here’s a picture of me, Tom Franklin, and Ace Atkins celebrating the publication of Ace’s great new Quinn Colson novel, The Redeemers, on the balcony at City Grocery last week. Pick up a signed copy here. Photo credit: Milly Moorhead West.

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1. Read at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville last weekend. Hell of a good town. Had a great time. Thanks to Rachael, Cale, Katy, and everyone who came out. Thanks especially to Lisa at Nightbird. Also got to spend a little time at Dickson Street Bookshop. What a bookstore! Only had about fifteen minutes, but I found some great stuff. Impossible not to in that joint. Can’t wait to go back and spend a few hours there.

Reading at Nightbird Books.

Reading at Nightbird Books.

Haul from Dickson Street Bookshop.

Haul from Dickson Street Bookshop.

2. Thanks to John Stonehouse for this review of Gravesend, Gareth Price for this one, and Lee Durkee for this one.

3. My pal Jimmy Cajoleas interviewed Willy Vlautin over at Lent. A couple of choice quotes from Willy:

“You get beat up in life, and you get sucker-punched, and bad things happen. If you keep an open heart and don’t get bitter and you keep trying, then shit will break your way once in a while. I really try to believe that all the time. So I think the characters kind of reflect that.”

“And I tend to try to write as a fan. I’m a firm believer in being a fan of things. I try to write with blood, you know, with the things that haunt me the most.”

4. George Pelecanos is the guest programmer on TCM tonight. Showing two of my favorites, The Seven-Ups and The Outfit.

Here’s a thing I wrote about The Outfit for my ’70s crime movie blog. And here’s a thing I wrote about The Seven-Ups.

5. I’m reading Per Petterson’s I Curse the River of Time. Goddamn.

6. A few things I’m really excited about re: Record Store Day:
a) All that’s happening at The End of All Music here in Oxford (where I work part-time)
b) Songs: Ohia’s Journey On: Collected Singles
c) This 7″ from The Delines, Willy Vlautin’s new band (as well as their forthcoming LP, Colfax)

7. Jason Molina passed away a year ago yesterday. Still tears out my guts that he’s gone. Here’s an essay I wrote for The Rumpus about how much his work has meant to me.

8. Happy St. Paddy’s Day. This is just about my favorite song/poem ever. And this performance drops me every damn time.

9. Recently picked up one of my favorite movies, Rolling Thunder, on Blu-Ray. Watched it with pals Ace Atkins, Jack Pendarvis, and Megan Abbott for our movie night on Saturday. Ace’s wife, Angela, shared some North Carolina moonshine with us. Best thing I’ve ever had. No kidding. Was having some killer wisdom tooth pain and it got cured. After a killer dinner and the moonshine, we rewatched the Root Beer Guy episode of Adventure Time (Jack writes for the show and voices RBG). Then we settled in for Rolling Thunder – I think I was the only one who’d seen it before – and it was goddamn wonderful.  Shout!Factory did a great job with the Blu-Ray. John Flynn is a hell of a good director but there were times when the movie looked as beautiful as a William Eggleston photo. And Linda Haynes, well, we all got a little obsessed with Linda Haynes.

Moonshine.

Moonshine.

Linda Haynes in ROLLING THUNDER.

Linda Haynes and William Devane in ROLLING THUNDER.

The Best Things

Pal & hero Jimmy Cajoleas interviewed pal & hero Jack Pendarvis over at Lent Magazine. I was there. It was a great night. We got drunk and talked for six hours and had a tape recorder going, which made it different from all the other times we’ve gotten drunk and talked all night.

Jack says so much great stuff about writing and living but my favorite thing is his response to my question about whether or not it’s wrong to encourage people who aren’t very good writers:  “I don’t really see the harm in encouraging someone who is not good. So what? Some of the best things I’ve ever read were not good.”

Also:

I’m reading at the Oxford Public Library on 2/19/14 at 12 PM.  Here’s the Facebook event page.

I’m reading at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Saturday, 3/8/14 at 6:30 PM.

The new Angel Olsen LP is streaming on NPR this week. I’m melting in a puddle of boners.

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All the Bulleit Rye is Not Pictured

Lifting one with Jack Pendarvis and Megan Abbott at City Grocery last night in celebration of Gravesend coming out. Photo by Megan Abbott.

CGpicOn the balcony at City Grocery with Ace Atkins, Megan Abbott, Jack Pendarvis, and Theresa Starkey Pendarvis. Jack wrote about it on his blog.

 

All the Bulleit Rye is Not Pictured

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On Gravesend

I’m really honored that some of my favorite writers took the time to read Gravesend and that they had some nice things to say about it:

Gravesend is a taut exploration of the ways we hurt and save (or try to save) one another. With unforgettable characters, a fist for a plot and a deeply evocative setting, Boyle navigates alleys and streets with the best of them, Lehane, Price, and Pelecanos.”
Tom Franklin, author of Poachers, Hell at the Breech, Smonk, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and The Tilted World

Gravesend is a book that hits you in the guts the same way David Goodis or Charles Willeford’s books do. Boyle’s mining that dark edge of America where no one is safe, not even from themselves. A dark ride but a seriously great ride.”
Willy Vlautin, author of The Motel Life, Northline, Lean on Pete, and The Free

Gravesend kicks ass! An irresistible combo of an insider’s tour of Brooklyn and true and authentic 21st Century Noir. Boyle is one to watch.”
Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Broken Places and Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland.

“William Boyle has written a terrific novel for the new millennium of Noir. A beautiful actress returns to her Brooklyn neighborhood where she finds the dark world she left has gotten worse. Peopled by ex-cons and ex-cops, teenage gangsters and Russian mobsters, Gravesend creates a claustrophobic intimacy as it moves swiftly to its shocking end. I finished the book grateful for release from its relentless grip, and admiring the guts it took to write such a brutal story.”
Chris Offutt, author of Kentucky Straight, Out of the Woods, and The Good Brother

“William Boyle’s Gravesend is a bruiser and a heartbreaker of a debut. With echoes of Lehane and Pelecanos but with a rhythm and poignancy all its own, it’s a gripping tale of family, revenge, the strains of the past and the losses that never leave us.”
Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me, The End of Everything, Queenpin, The Song is You, and Die A Little

“There’s a natural, forthright style here that seems born of this writer’s sense of duty to his characters, these denizens of non-hipster Brooklyn living out the dooms they were born to, nurturing their vices, the hours of their lives plaited masterfully together, their lusts and regrets interlaced.  The novel unspools without hurry but also without an extra line, giving neither the desire nor opportunity to look up from it.  There’s an exhilaration that accompanies seeing a place and its folks this clearly and fairly, feeling at once that the writer is nowhere to be found and also working tirelessly to show you the right things.  Boyle arrives in thorough possession of his seedy yet venerable world, this low-roofed urban hinterland.  I can’t remember being more convinced by the people in a novel.  Boyle’s characters, each in his or her own way, are accepting the likely future—with violence, with sex, with resignation, with rebellion, by being upbeat.  You’ll be grateful, and it won’t take long, to be in this writer’s hands.”
John Brandon, author of Arkansas, Citrus County, and A Million Heavens

“Boyle understands blood in all its meanings. He’s a dark poet who knows how to draw you close so he can slip the knife into your heart. Gravesend is deeply felt, brutal, tragic, personal and beautiful. You won’t forget it.”
Jack Pendarvis, author of The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure, Your Body is Changing, and Awesome

Gravesend plops you down in the midst of a tragedy waiting to happen, and as the story rumbles toward its shattering conclusion, you’ll find yourself digging in your heels against the terrible inevitability of it all. William Boyle lays bare a seedy corner of Brooklyn and the tortured souls who inhabit it in his debut, and in so doing stakes out his own turf among up-and-coming two-fisted writers.”
Richard Lange, author of Dead Boys, This Wicked World, and Angel Baby

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