Thursday, February 7, 2019

A SCHOLAR OF PAIN by Grant Jerkins

Let's get this out of the way. If you're on the search for a book with likable characters that will make you smile and strengthen you outlook on humanity, don't even look in this direction. There's nothing for you here. But if, like me, you're a weirdo fascinated by the darker side of humanity and shifty morality, then step right up.

What you'll find here is one of the best story collections I've read in years and marks the first time I've read anything by Grant Jerkins. The stories mostly focus on societal deviants of questionable ethics, stalkers, religious fanatics, child molesters, sizzurp addicts, and up-skirt peepers. It even takes leaps into the cosmic and metaphysical in ways that I won't spoil here.

Most of these characters aren't in denial of who they are and it leads to a bold and unwavering look at things that aren't all that comfortable to explore.
"I had a bowel movement in your commode. And I did something to your toothbrush so that you will have molecules of me inside of you too."
And Perkins is an exciting writer, tackling all of the subjects fearlessly and with sly, smirking prose that's exciting to read and darkly comic. But I'm not sure if I should even call this collection dark comedy. Because while it's too odd and outlandish to be grim, sometimes it's too painfully accurate and on the mark to be funny. What it is though is a stellar collection of stories the like of which you won't find anywhere else. Read this now. And then get ready to want to read more Grant Jerkins.


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