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Fight Scenes

Illustrated by David Powell

List Price: $20.00

October 1, 2008 | Hardcover | 5.2 x 7.3, 144 Pages | ISBN 9781593761295
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"This collection is filled with short, humorous scenes and pitch-perfect, sex-obsessed adolescent dialogue that illuminate a boy's uneasy journey toward adulthood." —Publishers Weekly

In an intricately linked series of poetic, short tales set in a 1983 suburb, Greg Bottoms portrays his life as one of two “at-risk” boys as they attempt to learn how to be-and what it means to be-men. By turns funny, disquieting, and moving, Fight Scenes takes an unsparing look at juvenile disaffection and the dark side of white, working-class masculinity.

By narrating his experiences with childhood buddy, Mark, Bottoms shows how many of America’s young men learn to think about work, sex, weakness, violence, and themselves. As he tells stories of this time and place, so do we become part of the hazy summer the boys spend drifting past the insect-singing trees, the sulfur-smelling creek, the 7-Eleven and the strip mall and the car dealership, and in and out of the woods looking for something to do. Often it’s drinking beer, smoking dope, trying not to get beaten up, or calling on girls struggling through their own changes-all events indicative of their transformative age. Graphic-novelesque illustrations by David Powell make the impact of the stories all the more immediate and raw.

In a pared down, highly readable style that brings to mind the work of Raymond Carver, Sherman Alexie, and Denis Johnson, Bottoms has created a work of literature that shows how even the most accepted forms of “toughness” can have a damaging, disorienting, and finally dehumanizing effect on everyone, especially kids.

GREG BOTTOMS is the author of three other books, including the critically acclaimed literary memoir Angelhead, one of Esquire‘s top nonfiction titles of 2000.

DAVID POWELL (illustrator) began teaching Graphic Design at Plattsburgh State University of New York in 2001 after a long career in design and publishing. He also serves as Art Director for the Saranac Review and Green Mountains Review.


“This collection is filled with short, humorous scenes and pitch-perfect, sex-obsessed adolescent dialogue that illuminate a boy’s uneasy journey toward adulthood.” —Publishers Weekly

Fight Scenes is as hilarious, ugly, sweet, sad, haunting and brutal as the hard process of growing up too soon. A perfectly calibrated collision of fiction and remembrance, it’s an honest vision of American boyhood, and in its charged—maybe even dazed—brilliance brings to mind the best work of both Denis Johnson and Tim O’Brien. Greg Bottoms is one of my very favorite writers.” —Stewart O’Nan, author of Songs for the Missing


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