Literary critic Steven W. Beattie, regularly of the Quill & Quire, among other publications, has been doing a series called 31 Days of Stories for May, where he talks about a different work of short fiction every day. Turns out that he decided to cover Old Man Marchuk, the lead story from my 2015 collection, Debris.
Beattie had one of my favourite reviews of the collection back when it came out, and that showed up in The Globe & Mail. My editor, John Metcalf, was a fan of that review also. Mainly because Beattie really dug into the writing at a sentence level, and broke down the stylistic choices that were being made below the surface. He does that again here, but goes even deeper into this one specific story.
Anyways, you can check it out by clicking this line. And you can still find Debris, as well as my novel, In the Cage, online and at many actual real-life bookstores. Thanks to Beattie for continuing to champion the work. Cheers.
Hey everyone. I hope everything is going swimmingly. Here’s a review in a very good Canadian literary journal, Prairie Fire, about this novel I wrote called In the Cage. It’s been out there for about a month or so, but I’ve been waylaid by writing things and jurying writing things, so I’m getting to a number of book updates now.
“Hardcastle’s writing could be compared to that of Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy or Ken Bruen. His pared down sentences scrutinize a way of life that is rough and unrelenting… the author has found his own style, is in command of his pen and knows his subjects. He strips the facades from our comfortable lives and jolts us into the hard lane of life, and we soon acknowledge that living on the edge is difficult and downright heart-breaking.” – Mary Barnes – Prairie Fire
I sincerely thank the writer Mary Barnes for this one, and I really do appreciate her close reading of the novel. I didn’t think anymore reviews were coming in at this point, so I was pretty jacked up on mountain dew when I saw her take on the book. You can read the full thing by clicking this line.
Thanks a bunch, Prairie Fire, for putting this up. You are good folks. Cheers. KH
Hello everyone. It has been pretty quiet over the last little while, what with book things winding down at the end of 2017 and winding back up somewhat at the beginning of 2018. Nonetheless, I do have a few readings and events coming up that are worth mentioning, for folks that might be interested.
- Common Reading Series – The Bell Jar Cafe – Toronto, Ontario – With Amy Jojo Jones & Cherie Dimaline – February 19th, 2018
- IFOA Weekly presents ‘What’s Life Got To Do With It?’ – Toronto, Ontario – With Mayank Bhatt, Terri Favro, Catherine Graham, Kevin Hardcastle and Grace O’Connell – Hosted by Lisa De Nikolits – March 7th, 2018
- Junction Reads – Toronto, Ontario – Guest Author – March 25th, 2018
- GritLit: Hamilton Readers & Writers Festival – Hamilton, Ontario – Guest Author – April 12th to April 15th, 2018
- Talk at the McLaren Art Centre – Barrie, Ontario – Guest Author – May 4th, 2018
- Festival America: Littératures et les cultures d’Amérique du Nord – Vincennes, France – Guest Author – September 20th to September 24th, 2018
- Wordstock Sudbury – Sudbury, Ontario – Guest Author – November 1st to November 3rd, 2018
These are all findable on my readings & events page on this site, and I’ll update any new readings or appearances there as they emerge.
I’m looking forward to the festivals especially, including GritLit in Hamilton, and Wordstock Sudbury, which both seem like great municipal literary happenings. The craziest one of the year is my being asked to participate in Festival America, an international literary festival that takes place in Vincennes, which coincides with the French publication of In the Cage, by the renowned Parisian publishing house, Albin Michel.
I’ve been working on translations of both In the Cage & Debris with Janique Jouin-de Laurens, and my editor there is Francis Geffard. They’ve published translations of writers like Donald Ray Pollock, Marlon James, and Stephen King, and are a formidable literary force in Europe. So, I’m very interested in seeing how the French receive my work. I’ve heard only good things about their passion for good writing, and for their enthusiasm for reading literary crime and the like, and novels authored by those that I truly admire and have looked up to over the years.
Otherwise, I’m some chapters into the next novel, and will be back in the short story tumbler soon enough. It took a lot of time and energy to get the first novel to where it got to, and I’ve been busy with some prize juries and other endeavours, but it is time to cut my teeth on some new writing, and lots of it.
Take care. KH
Hello errbody, and happy new year. I’ll likely put up something more about the year that was 2017 and some of the things that happened, and that are germinating for 2018 in writing-related life. But for now, here is just a quick bit of news that happened over the holidays, when most were busy doing things or trying to hide out in their hobbit holes.
I got this fine review in ZYZZYVA, one of the most respected literary journals in the US, based in San Francisco. You can read the review in its entirely here. Thanks the most to reviewer Bjorn Svendsen (and to the mag), who said about In the Cage:
“Genre fiction is often criticized for its recurring tropes and boilerplate plots, but Kevin Hardcastle’s novel proves otherwise. In the Cage is both fresh and haunting. It is a novel of grace and brutality, and the balance between them.”
I’ve long been trying to get US readers to check out my work, especially those who like the writing of, say, Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Woodrell, Donald Ray Pollock, and so forth. It’s a tough go to get your book into people’s hands in the mess of novels published each year, so this is a nice surprise and a welcome happening right as we move into another year and look forward to some things that’ll be going on in 2018.
More to come soon. Thanks again, and happy 2018. May all of your dreams take flight of the wings of a pegacorn…
I’m a little slow to post here, but In the Cage ended up making both the Globe & Mail and the National Post best books of the year lists. I’m in there with some very fancy writers like Eden Robinson, David Chariandy, Naben Ruthnum, George Saunders, Carleigh Baker and many, many more. So that is far, far better than a kick in the junk.
If you want to check out the full Globe list you can find it here, by clicking on this line. The novel likely made it in based on the recommendation of writer & reviewer, J.R. McConvey, so I gotta thank him for that, and for his earlier review of In the Cage, which you can find by clicking this.
You can find the full Post list here, by clicking your ass off. In the Cage came in hot at #97, but it still made it, so fuck it. I got a good review earlier in the season from Robert J. Wiersema, and you can check that out here.
There’s another thing or two to post before the year is up, and I’ll do so shortly. I’ve also got some upcoming fests and readings that I’ve confirmed, one of them to coincide with the French publication of In the Cage, and that one made me pee a little, and will take me across the Atlantic. So that is pretty alright. More soon…
Happy Friday, all.
In the Cage has showed up on the CBC Books winter reading list, which you can check out in full by clicking this line. I got some fine company on there, with folks like David Chariandy, Eliza Robertson, Katherena Vermette, Michael Redhill, and more.
Thanks to the CBC people for putting my novel in with all these other fancy writers. I appreciate it very much. Cheers. KH
Thanks to IFOA Weekly, and the generosity of the majestic John Irving, I am going to be at Harbourfront in Toronto, tonight, in conversation with the man himself about my novel, In the Cage. As it says on the poster above (official by IFOA I swear), we will discuss “survival in the rural underclass and what it means to pursue a noble life for one’s family.”
There will also be plenty of discussion about writing, process, the ingredients that go into a narrative like this, and the challenging nature of writing so intensely about poverty, violence, and people who live on the margins, while still maintaining a feeling of hope throughout. If you want a great primer on the talk, check out my Electric Literature interview with John, which will likely inform our talk tonight.
The event information is right here, if you click this line. Tickets are $10 and free for IFOA supporters and students. Hope to see you all there. It’ll be a good one.