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Pitiful Criminals

List Price: $16.95

August 12, 2014 | Paperback | 5.4 x 8.4, 203 pages | ISBN 9781619023116
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In Pitiful Criminals, Greg Bottoms offers thirteen genre-bending chapters from his past that take a close look at the lives of small-time criminals driven, often by confusion and desperation, to deeds that range from the absurd to the heinous. We meet the author’s schizophrenic arsonist brother, a depressed pot grower, a damaged ex-dealer who barely escaped a violent burglary, a born-again teenage shooter, and other alienated Americans pushed to extremes by psychology and circumstance. Forceful, poetic, unique, and utterly uncompromising, it is an unforgettable tour of the dark side of the human condition.

Greg Bottoms’s innovative fiction and creative nonfiction have focused on the American South, the effects of violence on individual lives, criminal behavior, mental illness, ecstatic and spiritual experience, and class in America. He blends explicitly autobiographical and biographical content with artful storytelling, a cultural journalist’s observations, and a philosopher’s deep inquiry into the strange ways we live now. This is postmodern crime fiction at its gritty and original best.

About The Authors

An essayist, memoirist, critic, and story writer, Greg Bottoms is the author of The Colorful Apocalypse and Fight Scenes. He teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont.

Praise for Pitiful Criminals

"From the consequences of his brother's schizophrenia to a pastor who suspects murder, these tales are told in a laconic voice that only amplifies their power. With black-and-white line drawings throughout; highly recommended for uncommon readers." --Library Journal

"[...] the book depicts these atrocious events with economy, precisely delivering mood and motive in the span of a page or two. Though sunny skies are a rarity here, Bottoms has created a skillfully rendered and devilishly unorthodox set of meditations on the "horrors people do." --Publishers Weekly

"...Yet [Bottoms] keeps on telling these stories that humanize horror without minimizing it, capturing the potential for pitiful transgressions in all of us. Entertaining as these tales are, they cut to the bone." --Vermont Weekly

"By turns evocatively understated and rapturously outrageous, Pitiful Criminals is a collision of memory and fiction that compassionately reminds us what makes us human, what makes us stupid, what makes us genuinely abhorrent, and why we are sometimes still worth loving nevertheless." --John D'Agata, author of About a Mountain and Lifespan of a Fact

Praise for Greg Bottoms

"The line between fact and fiction is often blurred in Greg Bottoms's collection of short stories...but one thing is clear: Bottoms writes about people and places for which he has a wonderful sense of understanding and compassion." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"[Bottoms's writing is invested] not with distance but with an unbearable intimacy. Everything matters, is what he means to tell us, and yet we can never understand what it all means." -- David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times

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