Fox Tooth Heart


Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Sarabande Books
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 0.8 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

John McManus is the author of the novel Bitter Milk and the short story collections Born on a Train and Stop Breakin Down, all published by Picador. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Oxford American, The Literary Review, Harvard Review, and many others. He is the youngest-ever recipient of the Whiting Award.


Selected by the American Booksellers Association as an Indie Next Pick for December 2015
Finalist for Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award

"McManus invites readers on an eccentric journey through Southern, Southwestern, and Middle America in this collection of wildly inventive short stories. Though they're set in America, they exist in a meticulously crafted world, quite different than our own.... McManus delves into the minds of his characters, allowing readers to experience their anxieties, delusions, fantasies, and fears."
--Publishers Weekly

"McManus shows a quirky originality in these nine stories as he focuses on the outré and bizarre doings of his off-center characters. Along with creating a compelling cast, McManus shows himself a master of openings. With his strange cast of drunks, murderers, and the drug-addled, McManus fits comfortably into a tradition of Gothic writing, adding his own--dare one say peculiar?--twists."
--Kirkus Reviews

"McManus burrows deep under the skins of his rough, cast-out characters and emerges with stories that are bold and ingenious."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Achingly visceral...a masterpiece."
--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Fox Tooth Heart will impress readers....McManus is a terrific writer. Regarding the "Southern decadence" in his stories, consider that Edgar Poe's lunatics and sensualists also blacked out from opium, alcohol or fear; and that Tennessee Williams' depraved neurotics, like the playwright himself, often ran from truths of the heart."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"McManus's unstinting drive to cut to the core of each moment, to show rather than tell, and to avoid explicit moralization, gives his writing its toughness and latent urgency.... More clearly than any writer I have read in recent years, McManus sees the terrible humor in loss while lodging the admonition that nobody's life is a joke."
--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Feverish, psychotropic, bold, mesmerizing, painful, Fox Tooth Heart is full of stories about people living on the margins of society, characters born into dark circumstances, or... driven there by their own obsessions and addictions. For those wearied by predictable fiction, Fox Tooth Heart is manna from someplace more interesting and sorrowful than heaven."
--The Huffington Post

"In his new collection of stories, Fox Tooth Heart, John McManus puts his arm around our shoulder and walks us out to the margin, calmly pointing out all the unfortunate souls who have stepped across the thin line. When he turns us away from the grotesque, toward the homes his characters can't find their way back to, the familiar is dizzying in its sway."
--The Literary Review

"McManus has a gift for idiosyncratic openings that make the reader lean in and listen. His sentences carry a confidential note. They make you excited and a little afraid for whatever is coming around the corner....He is a major American author with a wonderful eye for people's insecurities and a wonderful ear for the babble of their dreams. Fox Tooth Heart ...contains several stories that will rattle around in your brain for a long time after re-reading."
--Electric Literature

"[Y]ou'll hear McManus get compared to Denis Johnson, but that's not quite right. Sure, his characters are junkies and derelicts, but McManus doesn't have Johnson's affinity for the divine. His are the down-and-out heroes of George Saunders or John Updike, captured just before their fall. They're people struggling for their place in the world or who must settle for something less than they've hoped for....Fox Tooth Heart is the work of an older man still grappling with how we come by the beliefs that define us."

"This collection of short stories has such diversity in character and theme that reading more than one story in a sitting can be psychologically challenging.... [The stories] are unsettling, amusing, curious and intriguing, and they will hold your mind firmly in their grasp."
--Philadelphia Gay News

"McManus's fiction is difficult to pin down: though his characters often exist on the fringes of society, there's a strain of surrealism running through the proceedings.... But for all of their stranger elements, the worlds in which these are set feel decidedly lived-in...These are stories in which the pastoral, historical atrocities, and contemporary bad behavior all collide."
--Literary Hub

"[McManus's] prose is terse and effective, like poetry can be."
--Oxford American

"A truly impressive collection of deftly crafted, original and absorbing stories by a master wordsmith."
--Midwest Book Review