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With a voice that maintains a gritty strength balanced with poetic vision, Barry Graham pushes all his chips to the center of the table in this collection of from the gut short stories that are as sentimental as they are cynical. Set in America’s underbelly-from dead-end small towns with their futile Virginity Pledges to larger than life Las Vegas with it’s own brand of lust and deception-Graham populates his stories with a reoccurring cast of confused, helpless, hopeless, beautiful, dirty, optimistic, loveable down-and-outs trapped in lives and relationships they are unable to control.
Praise for The National Virginity Pledge!
Short Story (Fiction) Finalist – 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
“A frenetic, jangled, edgy, tragic, disturbing joyride through angst-ridden Middle America, The National Virginity Pledge feels like a cross between a David Lynch movie and a trip to your favorite dysfunctional uncle’s house — and I mean this in the best way possible.”
–Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews
“Barry Graham’s heroes want to love, yet bigger than their love for people and things is their capacity to destroy the objects of their affection. He doesn’t scorn them, though; he treats them with care and a loving tenderness. He turns grief, betrayal, and violence into something close to poetry, and finds beauty in places we should never wish to visit.”
–Stefan Kiesbye, Next Door Lived a Girl (Low Fidelity Press)
“…with its clipped, achingly real dialogue, and its effortless and vivid description, it achieves a relentless undercurrent of: “Look closer: there is more.”"
–Mary Lynn Reed, 5 Star Literary Stories
“Barry Graham’s stories are little cries for help from way in the corners and deep in the cracks of contemporary fiction.”
–Jeff Parker, Ovenman (Tin House)
“Barry Graham’s writing hits hard because it is raw and honest. He will suck you in with equal parts everydayness and voyeurism.”
–Aaron Burch, Hobart: Another Literary Journal
“…it remains a funny, reckless, fast paced, and edgy voice from beginning to end.”
–Dan Wickett, Emerging Writers Network
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