The Price of the Haircut: Book summary and reviews of The Price of the Haircut by Brock Clarke

The Price of the Haircut

Stories

by Brock Clarke

The Price of the Haircut by Brock Clarke X
The Price of the Haircut by Brock Clarke
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    240 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

From an acclaimed and original writer comes a new collection of stories bursting with absurdist plot twists and laced with trenchant wit. Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England and Exley, among other novels, now offers up bite-sized morsels of his trademark social satire that will have readers laughing, and perhaps shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

The title story delivers a cringingly biting dissection of racial attitudes in contemporary America, and Clarke also turns his eagle eye to subjects like PTSD, the fate of child actors, and, most especially, marital discord in stories like "Considering Lizzie Borden, Her Axe, My Wife" and "The Misunderstandings." In "The Pity Palace," a masterful study in self-absorption and self-delusion, a reclusive husband in Florence, Italy, who believes his wife has left him for a famous novelist, sells tickets to tourists anxious to meet someone more miserable than they.

It's a distinctly Clarkean world, in which readers find themselves reflected back with the distortion of funhouse mirrors—and swept up on a wild ride of heart-wrenching insight and self-discovery.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Full of sharp left turns and unexpected narrative choices, Clarke's bleak yet hilarious collection constantly mixes the seemingly mundane with the profound ... Clarke shows he is constantly willing to push boundaries. The resulting tales are hilarious, haunting, and original." - Booklist

"Clarke's disquieting, droll work reflects humanity like a dark fun house mirror." - Publishers Weekly

"Where Clarke's novels veer toward social satire, often hilariously so, this uneven collection ranges from the inscrutable to the astounding." - Kirkus

"The characters that populate these acerbic stories have made a fine art out of self-delusion and self-sabotage—and their various unspoolings are equal parts blistering and riveting. The Price of the Haircut is Brock Clarke at his satiric best." - Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

"The Price of the Haircut kept catching me by surprise with the depth of its insights and the depths Clarke was willing to plumb. There's a savage soul in each of these wonderfully constructed tales. Brock Clarke wields his wit like a sword." - Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling

"Brock Clarke's superb stories — exemplars of tragicomic voice and escalation — move ever forward on the tracks of his characters' rigorous but self-delusional logic. What a pleasure it is to read an artist who is in such complete control of talent and technique." - Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special

This information about The Price of the Haircut shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Brock Clarke Author Biography

Photo: Jon Hughes/Photopresse

Brock Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently a collection of short stories, The Price of the Haircut. His novels include The Happiest People in the World, Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for ...

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