TOO SHATTERED In The New York Times Book Review

My new novel TOO SHATTERED FOR MENDING was selected as one of four crossover books by the New York Times Sunday Book Review this week (“crossovers” are books that can be enjoyed by both mature teens and adults).

Here’s the full review:

TOO SHATTERED FOR MENDING
By Peter Brown Hoffmeister
373 pp. Knopf. $17.99.

Little is called Little because he’s big — a sophomore in high school and already 6-foot-5. But his nickname in his gorgeous but meth-ravaged Idaho town is more than an easy joke. Hoffmeister is reminding us that this person we come to care about and fear for — who’s been abandoned by his drug-dealer grandfather, who has to hunt illegally if he wants to eat meat, who’s been exposed to every kind of toxic masculinity but still puts everyone else’s needs above his own — is just a boy. Early on, a deputy seeks Little’s help finding his grandfather. That request eventually becomes a threat, adding tension to a portrait of the heart and will that’s so tragic and beautiful it singes.

Little has an older brother, JT, a promising football player who is ruining his prospects with alcohol and violence — and may soon ruin Little’s with faulty advice. JT’s girlfriend, Rowan, on whom Little has a heartbreaking crush, is a ragged free spirit who can’t understand her own worth.

“Too Shattered for Mending” is as spare as a bird in a bare tree, but it’s cathartic, not depressing. Little’s struggle with dyslexia alone — he places a red transparency over schoolbooks to make the page clearer — is enough to launch a thousand of those tweets that say, “I’m not crying, you’re crying.” In the end, you realize that what Little needs, what we all need, is a red transparency to put over the world itself so that life and love aren’t so hard.”

Advertisements

Rejection Day!

A poem rejected today. Plus this:
“Dear Peter,
We’re sorry to say that your piece wasn’t right for us. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work.
Best regards,
 The Shouts Dept. 
 The New Yorker”

Now I’m +500 rejections in my career. That’s a big milestone, and I’m proud.
 

Great Article From Orion Magazine On Nature And “The Rock Climbing Cure For Anxiety”

ChadFarnes

“Facing Fear” by J.B. MacKinnon

Do we need nature? Natural Spaces? Adventure? Contemplative time outside and the rush of adrenaline in a wild setting?

Two excerpts from the full article (click here to read the original – it’s excellent).

1. OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, the evidence that nature serves us well in mind and body has accumulated to a degree that approaches natural law. “The benefits of nature that have been intuited and written about through the ages have withstood rigorous scientific scrutiny,” notes Frances Kuo, director of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Yes, we still find these benefits when we measure them objectively; yes, we still find these benefits when non-nature lovers are included in our studies; and yes, we still find these benefits even when income and other factors that could explain a nature-health link are taken into account. In the face of the tremendously diverse and rigorous tests to which the nature-human health hypothesis has been subjected, the strength, consistency, and convergence of the findings are remarkable.”

2. To which I would respond: surely it was always thus. Were our distant ancestors, gathered around the fire in the lowering light, touched only by the awesome sunset, or did they also dread the awful night? Do we say that nature is only beneficial when it comforts, calms, and uplifts, as though there are no secret pleasures, no vital lessons, in feeling scared, disgusted, and uncomfortable? Is there a person alive who only ever wants the calm sea, and never the storm?

Please Don’t Read Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers

content

The esteemed Laura White of The Duck Store in Eugene, Oregon asked me to promote a book for Independent Bookstore Day. Now that’s tough. Asking an author to promote one book is like asking a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company which dollar is the favorite one he’s ever earned off the back-breaking labor of his minimum-wage employees.

So I can’t pick a book. Not a single book. But I can give you this:

Don’t read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. Just don’t read it.

To start, don’t read it because it’s a story about siblings that will remind you of your own siblings, and how you grew up, and your relationships to each other and to the world. Basically, this book will make you think way, way too much about the people you’re supposed to care about.

Also, don’t read The Sisters Brothers because it’s too easy to read. You’ll read it way too fast. And even though the critics say that it is quote unquote LITERARY, it won’t feel like it. And you want a literary novel to feel like Tolstoy, like effort, like something awkwardly translated from Russian or Romanian or Chinese or Swahili.

As I continue to think about it, don’t read The Sisters Brothers because deWitt’s first novel – Ablutions – while critically acclaimed, didn’t sell well. And who wants to read a writer who’s had a novel sell poorly? All of John Grisham’s books have sold more than a million copies. So what happened with deWitt’s first attempt? It has to make you wonder what’s wrong with deWitt’s writing. And if his writing has a significant flaw, isn’t that flaw going to be obvious in The Sisters Brothers?

Also, let’s think about that title: The Sisters Brothers. It’s confusing. Are these characters sisters or are they brothers? Why would anyone want to read a book with a title that makes them wonder. I want a title that gets right to the point.

M Is For Murder

Assert Yourself: Simple Steps To Build Your Confidence

Eat, Pray, Love

Furthermore, The Sisters Brothers is wildly entertaining. You will be enthralled. You will be enraptured. You will get stuck in this book. It will feel like a comfortable hammock in a backyard on a summer day while sipping a cold beverage, and you won’t want to get out of that hammock. Trust me. And who has time for that? Who wants to get stuck anywhere? We’re busy people, people. We need to keep moving. We don’t have time for books that suck us in and make us sit down and finish even though we’ve got a lot of things to do. So many things that are more important than mere books.

So that’s my pitch. Just don’t read it.

But you don’t have to listen to me. You don’t have to trust me alone.

A reviewer for the LA Times wrote, “If Cormac McCarthy had a sense of humor, he might have concocted a story like Patrick deWitt’s bloody, darkly funny western The Sisters Brothers.”

To that, I reply WHO IS CORMAC MCCARTHY? Has anyone actually read the entire border trilogy? Like, the whole thing?

Also, the reviewer said funny? Is that what we read books for these days? I know that I certainly don’t read books to laugh. I am a very serious person.

So let’s be serious. Don’t read The Sisters Brothers. Don’t go into a bookstore to buy it. Don’t go near it. In fact, don’t go into a bookstore at all. There are other options today. Go see “Fast And Furious 7”. Go text your friend while standing right next to her. Go eat the new Crunch Wrap Supreme at Taco Bell.

You have options people. Go out and make good choices.

Sincerely,

Peter Brown Hoffmeister

VICE Magazine’s Review + Miriam Gershow

Two new reviews this week for my forthcoming novel, Graphic the Valley:

“The narrator’s Yosemite is a sacred place…captured in Hoffmeister’s lean, immaculate, and devastating prose.” – River Donaghey, VICE Magazine Contributor

“Peter Hoffmeister is as ambitious as he is original. Graphic the Valley is many things at once: an ode to a place, a romance, a family drama, and a cautionary tale. From page one, it will surprise you. By the end, it will leave you surprisingly moved.” – Miriam Gershow, author of The Local News