Lies & Ugliness
By Brian Hodge
In a review of his first collection, The Convulsion Factory, esteemed critic Stanley Wiater stated, “This writer knows where the sad people, the bad people, and the mad people live.- Indeed. For his expansive command of characters as well as the situations, from the visionary to the grittily mundane, in which he finds them, and for his lyrically crafted prose and skewed perspectives (not to mention his penchant for run-on sentences), Hodge has racked up an eclectic list of comparisons: from Elmore Leonard to Clive Barker, from Honor-Daumier to David Cronenberg, from Carl Jung to Marilyn Monroe*”.Now comes his most far-reaching collection yet, 150,000 words chronicling the people, places, and things that his readers have come to expect, but never predict: The dancer who becomes the latest repository for the fervent sexuality that fueled the world’s most ancient cities. The serial killer whose grasp of media symbiosis puts him light-years ahead of the law. The modern-day castrato learning undreamt-of lessons in love, death, and divine madness. The Civil War veteran living a grotesque twist on the Old West myth of the outlaw who never takes off his gun belt.
William Faulkner once noted that writers are congenital liars – that if they weren’t liars, they would never have become writers in the first place. In that spirit, Brian Hodge has been enthusiastically lying ever since his earliest mastery of the alphabet, guided by only one stipulation:
Never letting a trivial thing like the facts get in the way of the ugly truth.
* Sadly, the Monroe comparison is a total fabrication.
Stories included in this collection:
The 121st Day of Sodom
Cancer Causes Rats
Some Other Me
Before the Last Snowflake Falls
An Autumnal Equinox Folly
Far Flew the Boast of Him
Now Day Was Fled As the Worm Had Wished
Pages Stuck By a Bowie Knife to a Cheyenne Gallows
Driving the Last Spike
Our Lady of Sloth and Scarlet Ivy
The Last Testament
The Alchemy of the Throat
Come Unto Me, All Ye Heavy Laden
Endnotes: From the Gutters of Civilization to Your Discerning Eye