Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Freebie: Men in the Making by Bruce Machart

Congratulations to Andrew Beck, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.

This week's book giveaway is Men in the Making, the new short story collection by Bruce Machart from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Regular Quivering Pen readers will remember how I gushed like Old Faithful over Machart's debut novel, The Wake of Forgiveness.  I said the story, revolving around two generations of one south Texas family, was one of the few contemporary novels to deserve comparisons to Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner.  And now comes this collection of stories which will likely cement Machart's reputation as a literary superstar in the making.  Here's the publisher's blurb for the book:
Whether they find themselves walking the fertile farmland of south Texas, steering trucks through the suffocating sprawl of Houston, or turning logs into loose leaf in the mills just west of the Sabine River, the men of these stories find themselves beset by the insufficiencies of their own ingrained ideas of manhood. Like Richard Russo, Bruce Machart has a profound knowledge of the male psyche and a gift for conveying the absurdity and brutality of daily life with humor and compassion. Alternately lush with lyricism and starkly candid, these stories emerge from inside a vividly scrutinized everyday of farms, refineries, hospitals, and homes to explore what it means to be a man at the rise of a new millennium. What it means to be a man who can’t protect his wife from violence, or protect his children from tragic accidents, or protect himself from loss and heartbreak. Machart’s characters have a deep and abiding humanity that makes their hardscrabble lives all the more unforgettable. 

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Men in the Making, all you have to do is answer this question:

Fill in the blank: According to Machart's website, "My first creative writing professor, Jim Robison, once said something to the effect that he couldn’t trust a story in which the characters didn’t ______."

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Oct. 27--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 28.

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