Barry Gifford has been writing gritty, American tales for the past forty years. His novels, stories, poetry, and films have helped shape the American neo-noir genre. The New York Times Book Review says that he "can sum up in a few words the cruelty, horror, and crushing banality that shape an entire life.”
Andrei Codrescu calls Gifford “a great comic realist,” while Pedro Almodóvar likens him to the surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, and Jonathan Lethem describes his style as “William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly.”
In The Roy Stories Gifford brings his signature style to a collection of tales following the character of Roy, who has made appearances in a number of Gifford’s previous story collections. Roy lives a mystical kind of life, skinning crocodiles in Southern Florida at age nine in the 1940s and playing in the back alleys of Chicago in the 1950s. This deep-feeling boy observes every detail in his surroundings with a sense of dark humor and an openness that will clutch readers tightly by the heart and lead them on a historical journey.
About the Author
The author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into over twenty-five languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in the Seneca Hotel on Chicago’s Near North Side, he relocated in his adolescence to New Orleans. The move proved significant: throughout his career, Gifford’s fiction—part-noir, part-picaresque, always entertaining—is born of the clash between what he has referred to as his “Northern Side” and “Southern Side.” Gifford has been recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Complete with road trips, baseball lore and local yarns, The Roy Stories is as American as apple pie and the punks that nabbed it from your windowsill." —Time Out New York
"Gifford, a master of the short story and nasty vignette, can sum up in a few words the cruelty, horror, and crushing banality that shape an entire life." —The New York Times Book Review
"The way Barry Gifford lets people talk articulates everything about their unfamiliar inner lives, and ours." —The Boston Globe
"Gifford is a master." —Los Angeles Times
"Gifford cuts right through the heart of what makes a good novel readable and entertaining. ... The way Barry Gifford does it, it's high art." —Elmore Leonard "Barry Gifford invented his own American vernacular–William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly" —Jonathan Lethem
"Gifford is an anomaly in both his influence and recognition. His prose is as straightforward as it is avant-garde, and can turn an ashtray into a flower petal right there on the page." —Sarah Wambold, Arts and Entertainment
"Like Hemingway, Saroyan, Kerouac, and Salinger… Gifford has a style. He is a great comic realist who does with the turn of a phrase what a Zen master does with a brushstroke. Gifford is an original who has seized the still-live vein of that American realism which began with Mark Twain." —Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio