The Years of Smashing Bricks is about sex, drugs and karate in Coronado and San Diego, California, in the early '70s. It’s a memoir in the form of interlocking stories, and reaches back into Richard Katrovas’s odd childhood on the highways of America with criminal parents, and into his teens in Sasebo, Japan, with adoptive parents on a U.S. Navy base. Having earned a second-degree black belt in Sho-bu-kan Okinawa-te in the late '60s, at the height of the mystique of the black belt, Katrovas gave private karate lessons through his twenties in Coronado and San Diego; at the same time, he lived a bohemian life of sex, drugs, art and ideas. At the heart of this utterly unique, lyrical memoir is a young man’s coming to terms with the cultural fictions of masculinity, and with his divided affections for a dying birth mother with whom he has lost contact, and an adoptive mother who is at once noble, deeply decent, and emotionally abusive.
About the Author
The recipient of numerous grants and awards, RICHARD KATROVAS is the founding academic director of the Prague Summer Program, and is the author of six collections of poetry, a short story collection, a novel, and two memoirs. Katrovas taught for twenty years at the University of New Orleans before moving to Western Michigan University. Katrovas lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana, and Prague, Czech Republic.
Table of Contents
1967-96 • The Year of Smashing Bricks • Killing Juan Gomez • Dirty Dan's • My Ex-Stepfather • My Ex-Stepmother • Melvin's Marvelous Oldies • The Train • Deep Fried • The Unlucky • The Cost • Static • The Acid Game • Grunion • The Seraphs • The Chinese Connection • Poet, Ha Ha • The Heist • Business • Cameron Crowe's Mother
What People are Saying About This
"Richard Katrovas has become an indispensible masculine voice, by turns brash and strikingly tender. These short stories form a strong, singular narrative, but they are also individual pieces of beauty and insight. Maybe only a poet can write memoir with this kind of torque."
"The Years of Smashing Bricks is pleasantly unpredictable, departing from the formula of the standard memoir. It is strange and haunting, and often very funny. I found its grittiness exhilarating."