Preview Excerpt of In the Cage in The Globe & Mail, Most Anticipated List



In case you missed it in the print edition, the fall preview excerpt of In the Cage, along with a short Q & A, are up on The Globe & Mail website as well. You can take a gander at it all here, by clicking on this line.

Thanks to Mark Medley for setting this up, and to Dominic Bugatto for another magical bit of art to accompany my writing. I’ve been lucky with some really exceptional artists and designers producing accompanying work to my writing in journals, magazine, and the papers. And this is another very good bit of work.



I was also pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Medley’s post on Sunday, listing his most anticipated books of the fall season. It includes excellent writers and/or colleagues like Naben Ruthnum, Eliza Robertson, Nick Mount, Jessica Westhead, Michelle Berry, Kathleen Winter, and Wayne Johnston. For the full list, click on this line.

Thanks to the Globe for making my weekend. There should be some more profiles and interviews and reviews coming over the next few weeks, and I’ll post them as they appear.

Cheers. KH

In the Cage in Kirkus, Quill & Quire…



The mighty Kirkus Reviews has read In the Cage, and has posted a very positive review of the novel. Which you can read in full by clicking anywhere on this line. Here’s a little bit of it…


“This is a masterful mashup between genres, matching the masculine violence of the cage match with country-tinged, Mamet-esque dialogue that elevates these characters into rich portraits of desperate people living for sheer survival.

“A crime novel with the pulse of a sports drama and the bitter toxicity of the best country noir.”


Kirkus is a highly respected publishing mag, and very difficult to get reviewed in, so I am pretty damn happy with this take. I didn’t quite get their elusive Kirkus Star, but booksellers and librarians all over the place read up on the books included in there when they stock their shelves. Thanks very much to the folks at Kirkus, and to Biblioasis for casting a net far and wide for this novel.



The article about In the Cage, by Steven W. Beattie and featured in the Fall Preview issue of Quill & Quire, is also online now for those of you who did not see it in print. Find that by clicking this, and learn all about how I was just copying Hemingway and, later, copying Cormac McCarthy. THANKS, STEVE.

Now I am going to the beer gettin’ place…

Cheers. KH

In the Cage – Full Cover



I have seen the finished cover for In the Cage, and it is magical…

This was posted in the week on social media, but I wanted to put it up here as well. There was a lot of work that went into this thing, not by me, but by the folks at Biblioasis, especially Chris Andrechek, and by Michel Vrana, who designed the cover. Thanks the most to those guys.

Also, I hadn’t seen how they were going to work the blurbs and such, but I am glad that they got them on the actual cover, as there are some good ones from John Irving, Donald Ray Pollock, and Waubgeshig Rice. I was very fortunate to get those, and am proud to have them printed on the cover.

As a bonus, you also get a colour photo of my older, slightly less fat head this time, thanks to Katrina Afonso, who has taken all of my author photos for a last couple of year since I sent her that hilarious Macbook photo for the Writers’ Trust Gala, when I was up for the Journey Prize, and she had to somehow make it fifteen feet tall. Katrina was a huge fan of that wall behind me, and that wall is certainly a very effective wall…

Even Alix Hawley got on there, with a line from her review of Debris for the National Post, from a couple years ago.

The book is out on September 12th, 2017. And we will be launching the shit out of it on September 20th, at The Garrison in Toronto. Check my events page for other launches, readings, festivals, and tour things

Cheers. KH

The ReLit Ring



I have received the magical ReLit Ring

Fresh from the metalworks of Christopher Kearney, in Newfoundland, the famed ReLit Ring showed up at my door the other day. It is handcrafted, with moveable dials that hold each letter of the alphabet, so I can spell as many four letter words as I want before punching an ostrich in the face…

Thanks to ReLit Award founder Kenneth J. Harvey, for choosing Debris as the winner of the short fiction category last year. And, congratulations to Carellin Brooks (One Hundred Days of Rain  Bookthug) and Sue Goyette (The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl – Gaspereau) who won for novel and poems respectively, and who can now also seize power in their own realms.

Cheers. KH

In the Cage featured in the Quill & Quire Fall Preview

If you get the latest issue of Quill & Quire, you’ll find this toeface person at the front of the big Fall Preview section. While that might be weird, please go ahead and read the article, because Steven Beattie had to hear me spew nonsense for over an hour just to get those few quotes.

More importantly, there is talk of my new novel, In the Cage, coming September 12th, 2017 from Biblioasis. I knew it would be in the preview, but didn’t know it would be featured as such, so I am flattered and very thankful to Steve, and to Sue Carter (editor of Q&Q), and all of the people who put this together.

The issue is on news-stands and in bookstores and should be all delivered to subscribers by now. If you do not think I, or the book, sound dumb, maybe you’ll investigate it this fall, and come by the launch (date TBA).

Cheers. KH

Some early words about In the Cage, my novel



As an emerging writer, I’ve been pretty fortunate to have met some established authors, many of whom I’ve admired for years. I’ve been even more fortunate to have some of those writers endanger their good name by offering up quotes or blurbs in support of my work.

Through a series of serendipitous events, I got to be friends with John Irving over the past few years, and he read and gave me a great quote for my story collection, Debris, and again for my new novel, In the Cage.


The architecture of this first novel is faultlessly conceived; the construction of the storytelling is meticulously crafted. Hardcastle has an abiding sympathy for the neglected rural poor. The characters we love will break our hearts; the low-lifes we fear are no less indelibly rendered. There is an aura of foreboding — of tragic inevitability — to the collision course of their lives. And, speaking strictly as a former wrestler, the details are true. John Irving


And, also magically, I have just recently had the new novel read by one of my favourite writers ever, Donald Ray Pollock, author of critically acclaimed, bestselling books like KnockemstiffThe Devil All the Time, and The Heavenly Table. Turns out that Mr. Pollock liked the new novel as well, and this is what he had to say about it…


“Written in taut, tough as nails prose, with a cinematic quality comparable to Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, Hardcastle’s In The Cage, is, to say the least, a wild, unrelenting ride, filled with thugs and desperation and innocents and heartbreak. It’s a damn fine book.” – Donald Ray Pollock


You can find out what people say about my writing, from this book until way back, by checking out that part of my site here.  Otherwise, I’d just like to thank Mr. Irving and Mr. Pollock, and all of the folks at Biblioasis who worked hard to wrangle up some of these kind quotes about the new novel. It is a humbling experience to have authors of that caliber put their words down in support of yours. So I am genuinely proud and honoured to know that In the Cage has been in those hands and did not get tossed into the river…


In the Cage is out on September 12th, for all those interested. There will be a launch here in Toronto, and we’re working on a few other events for you. Keep an eye out for more news on that, later…

KH

Denis Johnson



As many of you likely know by now, the great Denis Johnson died last week, at the age of 67. His work, and especially his short fiction, had a significant impact on my own writing, and I admired the man and his talents very much.

I’ve said something about Johnson the best way that I can in a piece that I wrote for the Globe & Mail, that ran on Friday. The books editor, Mark Medley, asked me if I wanted to write something, and I tried my best to do the man justice.

You can find that article here. I appreciate everyone who read it and said kind things so far. Many, many writers and readers were affected deeply by Johnson’s writing, and by his death, so I did what I could to honour the man and try to show how he shone in his craft and skill.

Take care, all. KH


Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing. It was only that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that. – Denis Johnson (Dundun)