Winner of the 2018 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction
The 14 stories of The Dogs of Detroit each focus on grief and its many strange permutations. This grief alternately devolves into violence, silence, solitude, and utter isolation. In some cases, grief drives the stories as a strong, reactionary force, and yet in other stories, that grief evolves quietly over long stretches of time. Many of the stories also use grief as a prism to explore the beguiling bonds within families. The stories span a variety of geographies, both urban and rural, often considering collisions between the two.
About the Author
Brad Felver is a fiction writer, essayist, and teacher of writing. His honors include the O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize special mention, and the Zone 3 Fiction Prize. His fiction and essays have appeared widely in magazines such as One Story, New England Review, Hunger Mountain, and Colorado Review. Currently he serves as Lecturer and Associate Chair of the English Department at Bowling Green State University. He lives with his wife and kids in northern Ohio.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from “The Dogs of Detroit” Nights, when Polk cannot hunt the dogs, he instead attacks his father. He has grown to crave the hot pain spreading over his face, the bulging of his knuckles when they connect with bone. His father fights back just enough. They roll around on the floor, struggling and grunting, sneaking in shots to the ribs and the temples. When they tire, they each collapse, wheezing, moaning. They rub their flushed faces and lick away the blood pooling on their gums and retreat to their corners. No resentment or words, as if they are not punching each other, not exactly. A narcotic hunger being fed, one which brings no joy, but rather is a conduit for torment. After their fights they lay there, panting, blinking back tears, and only then does Polk confide in his father. He lists off the revenges he wants to take on the universe. He imagines the worst things possible: toddler coffins, flayed penguins, pipe bombs in convents, napalm in orphanages. He hates himself for it, his selfishness, his appetite for sloppy justice. Always he ends up wondering the same thing: Does God hate me more than I hate God? His father reaches for Polk’s hand, but Polk pulls away. No touching unless it is to create violence. “Patience,” his father says. “We must learn grief.”