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Hush by Dave Kress

Readers Recommend

Posted 1.09.12

“My reading tends toward innovative fiction, especially fiction written by novelists unafraid of exploring the possibilities of language and style—those such as Nathanial Mackey, Percival Everett, Mary Caponegro, Joanna Scott, and Brian Evanson. When I discover authors whose work I admire, I try to find out whose work they admire, then track down their work and so on. I also tend to choose titles from publishers I respect (e.g., Dalkey Archive, New Directions, and Coffee House Press). Dave Kress’s Hush, published by MAMMOTH Books in 2010, which published my first novel back in 2002, is a fascinating work of sheer fiction that jigs in a kind of snake handler’s ecstasy at the dangerous four-way intersection of religion, language, sex, and…bowling. To spin his narrative, which is at once otherworldly and down to earth, Kress has produced a startling narrative voice in protagonist Reanne Mone, sole member of the Church of God the Silence and sporadic freshman at Bristol County Community College in fictional Awnry, Massachusetts. Mone’s is the voice of a young woman whose intelligence outreaches her vocabulary but who nonetheless crafts an outrageous, sexualized, hilarious, and highly personal bible out of her own harrowing circumstances. She does so with a charming fearlessness, and ants-in-the pants brio, and a philatelist’s attention to detail. To say the least, Kress’s uproarious blend of sex, slapstick, scripture, and semiotics gave me whiplash of the mind that had me, on reaching the final page, turning immediately back to the first.” 

—Ed Desautels from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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