The Book of Duels (Paperback)

By Michael Garriga, Tynan Kerr (Illustrator)

Milkweed Editions, 9781571310934, 225pp.

Publication Date: March 18, 2014

April 2014 Indie Next List

“There are many great storytellers published today, but it takes an exceptional writer to tell a story in so few words -- and Michael Garriga does it brilliantly. Told candidly from the perspective of each duelist and a witness, The Book of Duels delves into the final thoughts -- of honor, love, hatred, anger, God -- of those facing death. Gritty and often darkly humorous, this debut collection will make readers take note of flash fiction.”
— Lindsay Pingel, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
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Description

Fierce, searing, and darkly comical, Garriga's debut collection of short-short fiction depicts historical and imagined duels, re-envisioning in a flash the competing points of motivation--courage and cowardice, honor and vengeance--that lead individuals to risk it all.

In this compact collection, "settling the score" provides a fascinating apparatus for exploring foundational civilizing ideas. Notions of courage, cowardice, and revenge course through Michael Garriga's flash fiction pieces, each one of which captures a duel's decisive moment from three distinct perspectives: opposing accounts from the individual duelists, followed by the third account of a witness. In razor-honed language, the voices of the duelists take center stage, training a spotlight on the litany of misguided beliefs and perceptions that lead individuals into such conflicts.

From Cain and Abel to Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickenson; from John Henry and the steam drill to an alcoholic fighting the bottle: the cumulative effect of these powerful pieces is a probing and disconcerting look at humankind's long-held notions of pride, honor, vengeance, and satisfaction. Meticulously crafted by Garriga, and with stunning illustrations by Tynan Kerr, The Book of Duels is a unique and remarkable debut.


About the Author

Michael Garriga holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University's creative writing program. His short fiction has appeared in New Letters, Black Warrior Review, storySouth, Southern Review, and elsewhere. Garriga lives with his family outside of Cleveland, OH, where he teaches creative writing in the English department at Baldwin Wallace Unversity. The Book of Duels is his first book. Tynan Kerr was born in St. Paul, MN. He received a B.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He currently lives in South Minneapolis.
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