The Graybar Hotel : Stories

The Graybar Hotel : Stories

eBook - 2017
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In this "toughly courageous, unflinching, and unapologetic" ( O, The Oprah Magazine ) debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, "takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence" ( Publishers Weekly ).

In Curtis Dawkins's first short story collection, longlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration--he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face.

In "A Human Number," a man collect-calls strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In "573543," an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament. In "Leche Quemada," an inmate is released and finds freedom to be complex and baffling. Dawkins's stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail--the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws.

The Graybar Hotel is "well-written and worth reading for Dawkins's craft and insight, but it's also an occasion to consider an industry that has little to do with rehabilitation, and that makes it nearly impossible for its participants to recuperate their lives" ( Chicago Tribune ). Dawkins is an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor who gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society. "His prison stories are insightful and well written, and they ring true. Dawkins possesses the acquired wisdom of a man who's been there, done that and, unfortunately, is staying there" ( Houston Chronicle ).
Publisher: Scribner,, 2017
ISBN: 9781501162312
Call Number: EBOOK AXIS 360
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360


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Manateestarz Aug 28, 2017

A wonderfully written book of short stories about life in prison. A really, really good book full of humor, sadness, sharp observations and unforgettable characters. I never doubted for a moment that the characters Italian Tom, Depakote Mo and Crash were real people. There are some really beautifully written stories, so it is hard to pick my favorites. But, I really loved Engulfed, about a compulsive liar in prison who finally get his due and Leche Quemada, about a man's first days out of prison, which are quite different than he expected.

Jul 26, 2017

Well enough written and not the horribly violent tales that TV and movies present. Dawkings speaks as a member of the inside and knowing this helps the reader connect to the stories. If his stories were too sensational one might resent his inmate status for being so bold and ostentatious. Instead he tells tales of the everyday prison occurrences - some awful, some lonely, some matter of fact. One is seldom given the opportunity to read works by an author in prison.


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