In the Cage reviewed in ZVZZYVA



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…

KH

In the Cage amongst the Globe & Mail and National Post Books of the Year



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 offIn 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.

Tonight I talk to John Irving at IFOA Weekly



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.

Cheers. KH



 

More good reviews of IN THE CAGE



There have been some new reviews of my novel, In the Cage, that have recently appeared in the papers and on the internet and such. I’ve been touring around and doing readings, so I’ve not be posting as much as I’d like. But, regardless, here’s some more good ink for this book I wrote…



Somehow I missed this piece in the National Post by Robert J. Wiersema, who previously gave Debris one of its best reviews a couple years back, in Quill & Quire. In any case, you can find the full review of In the Cage by clicking this line. Wiersema says of the work:

Through Hardcastle’s style – sentences plain and broken, glinting with moments of beauty even in the depths of violence and pain – we become part of Daniel’s world, part of the very structure he fights against, inside the cage and out.”



There was also a very good review in the Winnipeg Free Press by Rory Runnells, who says, among other things: “Hardcastle shows a mastery of form and storytelling worthy of the attention he has received.”

You can click on this line to read the rest of the review. Thanks to Mr. Runnells and to the WFP for this one.



The screencap at the top of this post is from a  tweet about the novel review by Sally Cooper in the recent issue of Hamilton Review of Books. Check the rest of that one out by clicking here.

Also, there were some very nice blog reviews of the book. The first was by Anne Logan, and you can take a look at it on her blog I’ve Read This. I met Anne at Calgary Wordfest and she is #1. She also keeps tweeting photos of my book with her cat, so that is alright.

There was another on Consumed by Ink, the excellent book blog by Naomi MacKinnon. Here, In the Cage was called “far from heartwarming,” and that is very accurate. You can find the full review by clicking on here.

Last but not least, Steven Buechler has recently reviewed both of my books on his blog, The Library of Pacific Tranquility, and you can find the In the Cage review here. He really gets into the writing voice and sentences, which is something I always appreciate.

For his Debris review, click here. THANKS, STEVEN. And everyone who has taken the time to read these things I wrote, and write some stuff about whether that experience sucked or did not at all.

That’s all I got today. I’ll be posting again soon, now that I’m back in one place for the most part. Thanks, all.

KH

In the Cage on The Next Chapter



A little while back I recorded an interview for CBC’s The Next Chapter with pegacorn-like book champion Shelagh Rogers. I’ve done a little bit of radio before, on the Richard Crouse Show on Newstalk 1010 & iHeart Radio, though this one was the deep dive into book stuff and, mainly, the guts of my new novel, In the Cage, and what it took to write the story, and where it all comes from.

Despite all of that, and trying not to sound like a total hoser while yammering on, Shelagh was great and really loved the book (she even mentioned in on a FB video from CBC Books a few months ago, with Candy Palmater). She asked some excellent, well thought-out questions, and got some good answers out of me.

The segment played on actual radio back on October 30th and again on November 4th, but it is all archived here, on the CBC website, and you can listen to it anytime on there, or through their audio player. Also on the show were Alison Pick and Lorna Crozier, and you can find their segments there in the links as well.

Thanks the most to Shelagh, Barb Carey, and Dean, who recorded the show. I am grateful to have made it on the show, and to have my ramblings distilled into such a concise representation of the novel and what it’s all about. You are the best.

Also, big thanks to CBC Books for sharing the interview on social media and everywhere else. I very much appreciate all of those posts.

More to come as I collect my thoughts and get a chance to post between events and such…

KH

John Irving asks me things for Electric Literature



In an extremely magical turn of events, the John Irving has interviewed me for Electric Literature, an outstanding literary website out of the US, with an impressive reach and readership. We worked on this awhile, as John asks very good questions, and I wanted to give those questions some good answers. I tend to go on, and cuss and say motherfucker more than I maybe should. Nonetheless, I think we figured it out.

You can check it out here, where we talk about my novel, In the Cage, and things like writing the rural poor, the real gravity of combat sports and training, and some of the reasons I write the way I do, including my literary influences, family history, and the place I grew up and why it is weird and had so many stories to tell.



This is a pretty solid primer for an event we’re doing that is part of IFOA’s All Lit Up series, and will take place at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, on the 29th of November. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to, as I know that John can interview the hell out of somebody, and, when he’s into something, he gets right to the bones of it. I am honoured to do it, and hope that you’ll all come out if you like. It’ll be a good night.

Until then, thanks for reading all of this. I’ve just been out to Calgary Wordfest, did a launch in Edmonton at Audreys, and am now in Vancouver for Vancouver Writers Fest. My events are available if you click here. Tell everybody you every knew to check all of these things out.

Believe in your dreams…
KH