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In the Course of Human Events Summary and Reviews

In the Course of Human Events

by Mike Harvkey

In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey X
In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2014
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Clyde Twitty could use a break, a helping hand. He's a young man lost - in his finances, in his family - and stuck deep within the fast-settling muck of a dwindling rural Missouri town that has, in every way, given up hope. The hand that reaches down, pulls him up, and leads him forward is that of Jay Smalls, a fiercely charismatic patriarch, a man who exerts a kind of gravitational force and who breeds purpose in those who get caught in it. Un-rattled by the increasingly sinister racial undertones of Jay Smalls and his posse, and desperate to look forward and not down, for once in his life, Clyde hardly stumbles when the path he's being ushered down takes a dark and irrevocable turn.

In this thrilling debut novel - equal parts satire and morality play - Harvkey shines a sharp light on the dark and radical underbelly of the floundering American Midwest. As he leads us down the violent spiral of a desperate youth, he explores with unflinching acuity the ugly nature of hate, the untempered force of personality, and the sometimes horrific power of having someone believe in you.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. It's a provocative, unflinching look at the hate that poverty has fomented in places like Strasburg - 'the town the American Dream forgot.'" - Publishers Weekly

"Not everyone will want to climb inside the head of someone as clearly out of control as Jay Smalls, and those who do might find the story more depressing than the reality upon which it is based. Well-written, but readers will struggle to care about the fates of Clyde, the Smalls or any of the other characters." - Kirkus

"Mike Harvkey has written a gripping, bold and daring novel unlike any I've had the pleasure of reading before." - Dinaw Mengestu, MacArthur Genius Fellow and author of How to Read the Air and The Wonderful Things that Heaven Bears

"In the Course of Human Events is at once a harrowing descent into the white supremacist underground and a timely portrait of 21st-century American malaise. Mike Harvkey well understands his bleak Midwestern landscape, beaten down by recession, and casts an unflinching eye upon the casual violence and hate-consumed paranoia of the subculture such a hopeless world can nurture." – Mark Binelli, author of Detroit City Is the Place to Be

"Booze. Guns. Race-hate. Hard-boiled literary noir is a French favorite, but Harvkey reminds us that stories like this are born, brewed, and bottled in the good old U.S. of A." - Scott Wolven, author of Controlled Burn: Stories Of Prison, Crime, and Men

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Author Information

Mike Harvkey

Mike Harvkey grew up in rural northwest Missouri, near the city of Independence, a crystal meth stronghold long before Breaking Bad. When he moved to New York in 2001 to attend Columbia's Creative Writing MFA Program as a Bingham Fellow, he began training Kyokushin, a brutal form of martial art known for bare-knuckle fighting, and was promoted to black belt in 2006. One of his short stories won Zoetrope All-Story Magazine's short fiction contest; others have been published in Mississippi Review and Alaska Quarterly Review.

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