Working Backwards from the Worst Moment of My Life
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From a writer Steve Almond calls “the master of the down and out that just got worse” comes a collection of stories that live vividly in the reader’s memory long after the final page has been turned. Taking place in a world of desperate people who cling to hope, but have few expectations, Roberge introduces us to a motley crew of cripples, drug addicts, former child actors, chimpanzee boxers, exterminators, and assorted criminals. These desperate, boldly original stories are distinguished by a stark prose reminiscent of Denis Johnson or Lorrie Moore, but are, ultimately, all their own—powerful, riveting, deeply felt, and darkly funny.
Praise For Working Backwards from the Worst Moment of My Life…
“Working Backwards from the Worst Moment of My Life confirms what everyone should already know: Rob Roberge is one the finest short story writers working today. His vision of life is something like Denis Johnson’s, with Neil Young and Crazyhorse as the soundtrack, provided both dipped their toes into the surreal every now and then just to get some relief from the pressures of the world. A nuanced, violent and, ultimately, deeply felt collection of stories.” —Tod Goldberg, author of Living Dead Girl and Simplify.
“Rob Roberge is a modern master of the down-and-out-that-just-got-worse. His stories are dark and thrilling. They take hold of the reader like some bad, bracing dope and don't let go until you feel the full measure of your own humanity. Prose this carefully wrought and true puts him in the tradition of Bukowski, Hammett, and Denis Johnson.” —Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal, Candyfreak, The Evil BB Chow and Not that You Asked: Essays.
“Subtly, deftly, Rob Roberge elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary. His surprising, often darkly humorous stories take the reader to places rarely visited by even our boldest writers. The prose is clean and tough and powerful, marking Roberge as a truly fine and formidable talent.” —James Brown, author of This River and The Los Angeles Diaries
“These stories make me want to climb right up inside of Rob Roberge’s head and ride around looking out at his weird, dark world. His broken people are riveting and strange but deeply familiar. Beautiful and funny and heartbreaking in one breath -- everyone should read this book.” —Katie Arnoldi, author of Chemical Pink and The Wentworths
"These fiercely original small works explore the roughest off-road trail of men’s lives, a place where the road to redemption has long ago been left behind, and all that’s left is grief and violent action. Bathed in a prose of sensual texture--the taste of barbed wire, the roar of rusted engines, the scent of blood and dust and madness—Roberge’s collection blooms in the mind long after the last page has been turned."—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
Red Hen Press, 9781597091657, 112pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
About the Author
Rob Roberge teaches writing at Antioch University's MFA in Creative Writing program, UC-Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing in 2003. His stories have been featured in ZYZZYVA, Chelsea, Other Voices, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the “Ten Writers Worth Knowing” issue of The Literary Review. His work has also been anthologized in Another City (City Lights, 2001), It’s All Good (Manic D Press, 2004), and SANTI: Lives of the Modern Saints (Black Arrow Press, 2007). Newer work is scheduled to appear, or has appeared, in Penthouse, Black Clock, and OC Noir. He plays guitar and sings with several LA bands, including the legendary punk pioneers, The Urinals. In his spare time, he restores and rebuilds vintage amplifiers and quack medical devices. He lives in Los Angeles.