Once You Break a Knuckle (Paperback)


By D. W. Wilson

Bloomsbury USA, 9781608199945, 256pp.

Publication Date: January 7, 2014

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In the remote Kootenay Valley in western Canada, good people sometimes do bad things. Two bullied adolescents sabotage a rope swing, resulting in another boy's death. A heartbroken young man chooses not to warn his best friend about an approaching car. Sons challenge fathers and break taboos.

Crackling with tension and propelled by jagged, cutting dialogue, D. W. Wilson's stories reveal to us how our best intentions can be doomed to fail or injure, how our loves can fall short or mislead us, how even friendship-especially friendship-can be something dangerously temporary. An intoxicating cocktail of adrenaline and vulnerability, doggedness and dignity, Once You Break a Knuckle explores the courage it takes just to make it through another day.

About the Author

D. W. Wilson was born and raised in the small towns of the Kootenay Valley, British Columbia. His stories have won the BBC National Short Story Award, been shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize, and been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards. Once You Break a Knuckle was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Wilson has also written a novel, Ballistics. He lives in London.

Praise For Once You Break a Knuckle: Stories

“Full of life . . . Emotionally powerful . . .Wilson, in the tradition of modern masters like Peter Taylor and Edward P. Jones, makes great use of the underutilized flash-forward to contextualize all that has come before, and to convey the sometimes horrific consequences of what he has just shown us.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A massive achievement” —The Guardian

“The stories patiently gather the full power of a novel. By the time he's done, Mr. Wilson has mapped this place as precisely as any cartographer could.” —The New York Times

“Powerful . . . [Wilson writes] with strength, passion (a not unmixed affection), wit, and compelling imagery . . . Will appeal to readers of Russell Banks and Daniel Woodrell.” —Booklist

“A master of atmospheric detail.” —Publishers Weekly

“There's no denying its raw power.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Seems to tap effortlessly into a collective subconscious.” —The Globe and Mail