book cover of Dogfight


A collection of stories by

A Los Angeles Times Notable Book: Short fiction by the author of Eveningland, "a writer of the first rank" (Esquire).

"These 10 distinctive and intensely affecting stories confirm Knight as a writer of significant gifts. In short narratives that invariably entice the reader with an arresting opening sentence, he establishes a solid sense of place, using the local color of his native Alabama, and transforms ordinary people into nearly mythic figures. The first story, 'Now You See Her,' sets the stage, constructing a conflict of nearly Oedipal proportions. A veterinarian widower and his teenage son, Xavier, who calls himself X, spy on Grace, their next-door neighbor, who 'it would appear . . . renounced clothing altogether'; the surprising climax occurs when her dog suddenly takes ill. In many of Knight's offerings, animals act as agents of change: in the title story, a dogfight is the catalyst for an adulterous affair and results in a parallel clash between the dogs' owners. 'Gerald's Monkey' uses a man's desire for a pet monkey to examine the emotional aftermath of Vietnam. Knight demonstrates agility with a diversity of viewpoints: he is equally at ease with first-person narration or third, an adult perspective or an adolescent's, as in a stunner called 'A Bad Man, So Pretty' (taken from a Muhammad Ali quote) that works up to a Cain and Abel-style confrontation. Knight's characters are both recognizable and transcendent, suddenly drawn into trespassing the ordinary limits of their lives to enter the realm of allegory." - Publishers Weekly

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Michael Knight's stories are tempered with both pathos and humor, and seasoned with many an unexpected twist. Dogfight and Other Stories has a bite more than equal to its bark." - Madison Smartt Bell

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