Sad Stories of the Death of Kings
Roy is a lover of adventure movies, a budding writer, and a young man slowly coming of age without the benefit of a father. Surrounding him—whether to support him or to drag him under—is the adult world of postwar Chicago, a city haunted by violence, poverty, and the redeeming power of imagination. Here are charlatans, operators, alien abductees, schoolyard nudists, and fast girls with only months to live. At the center of it all is a boy learning to navigate the compromises, disillusionments and regrets that come with the territory of living. Mixing memoir and invention, the forty-one short stories in Barry Gifford's first book for young adults bring a city—and a boy's growing consciousness—to vivid, unflinching life.
Also available in a young adult edition.
"Gifford's work falls into two camps: the edgy, wildly eccentric stories, full of weirdness and perversity but portraying characters who exude a bedrock humanity … and the more realistic, coming-of-age tales that find young innocents thrust with open eyes into a world of pain. His latest collection of stories falls squarely into the second category … Like Gifford, [Roy] always finds the warm hearts beating beneath the sadness." —Booklist
"Deliciously Giffordesque, full of sudden and swift-passing flares of insight, as if lit from within by match flame." —Jonathan Kiefer, San Francisco Weekly
"Gifford's great talent captures defining moments with the casual grace of anecdote. [He] makes the anecdotal monumental." —Jonathan Keats, San Francisco Magazine
"Barry Gifford's Sad Stories of the Death of Kings gleams like a stolen silver dollar; one boy's search for wisdom among the hustlers, criminals, and wise guys that reads as evocatively as anything out of Nelson Algren. These stories, sometimes only a page or two, riddled with sharp, subtle dialogue, all glow with the devastating, sometimes gruesome wisdom of Sherwood Anderson and Flannery O'Connor." —Joe Meno, author of The Great Perhaps and Hairstyles of the Damned
About Barry Gifford
BARRY GIFFORD’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in twenty-eight languages. His novel Night People was awarded the Premio Brancati, established by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alberto Moravia in Italy, and he has been the recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His books Sailor’s Holiday and The Phantom Father were each named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and his book Wyoming was named a Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. He has written librettos for operas by the composers Toru Takemitsu, Ichiro Nodaira, and Olga Neuwirth. Gifford’s work has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Punch, Esquire, La Nouvelle Revue Française, El País, La Repubblica, Rolling Stone, Brick, Film Comment, El Universal, Projections, and the New York Times. His film credits include Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts, Ball Lightning, and The Phantom Father. Barry Gifford’s most recent books include Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, Imagining Paradise: New & Selected Poems and The Roy Stories. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information visit www.BarryGifford.com.