Posts tagged “sad stories of the death of kings”
March 17, 2011
Sad Stories of the Death of Kings brought [my childhood memories of Chicago] back to me—and more. “Fruit boots,” for example.
“Style of shoe popular in the 1950’s and 60’s, ankle-high suede shoes with crepe rubber soles conventionally known as desert boots. English Mods embraced desert boots made by Clarks and their popularity spread to the U.S. where they were labeled “fruit boots” because of their perceived popularity with perceived homosexuals.” (Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.)
“There they are,” Jimmy said. “I told you she’d be here.”
Standing halfway down the block were two girls, both wearing black scarves around their heads, navy blue pea coats, short black skirts with black tights and black fruit boots. One of them was smoking a cigarette.
“Bad Girls,” said Roy.
“I hope so,” said Jimmy Boyle.
I wasn’t a bad girl. I was too scared. But I knew those girls, and Barry Gifford got them just right. He got everything right. —Award-winning YA author Barbara Shoup
January 7, 2011
“Across more than 40 vignettes, Gifford summons post–World War II Chicago through the eyes of Roy, a kid who exists along the seams of Chicago’s underworld . . . The tales in Sad Stories almost read as fables, sometimes not extending beyond just a few pages. In the title story, Roy helps his friend clean up at a strip joint near State and Congress in the pre-dawn hours. An aging stripper bumps into him as he’s taking out the trash, and warns him against becoming one of her clients. In “The Swedish Bakery,” one of Roy’s friends seeks help from a priest when his brother and another boy wrangle him into a conspiracy to knock off the bakery where he works. Some function as snapshots of the city, while others almost as aphorisms, when Roy is granted wisdom from the adults in his life.” – Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
December 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010, Time TBA, Barry Gifford will be speaking at Powell’s Books about his latest work Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, a collection of short stories about a young boy coming of age without a father figure. This is the first book published by Gifford and Seven Stories that is also available for young adults. Location: 1005 West Burnside Portland, OR 97209. Check back for updates or go to www.powells.com.
November 19, 2010
“[Gifford] is a moving target, as omnivorous as he is prolific, having published poetry, novels, story collections, memoirs, biographies of William Saroyan and Jack Kerouac, art criticism, plays, screenplays, a libretto, and nonfiction monographs about horse racing and the Chicago Cubs. Even this kind of classification is inaccurate: his history of the Cubs is really a memoir, his poems read like prose, his prose like poetry. His most remarkable achievement to date, the Sailor and Lula saga, is equally hard to pin down. . . . “Like Romeo and Juliet only nobody dies,” Gifford writes at one point, though this is, again, somewhat misleading, since by the end of the saga very few characters have been spared a gruesome and abrupt death.
November 17, 2010
November 17, 2010, 7:00PM, City Lights Bookstore welcomes Barry Gifford for a reading event featuring his latest work, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings. Location: 261 Columbus Ave. at Broadway San Francisco, CA 94113. For additional information go to www.citylights.com.
October 15, 2010
When novelist, screenwriter, and poet Barry Gifford submitted a manuscript of 42 interlinked short stories to his longtime publisher, Dan Simon at Seven Stories, both Simon and the press’s publicist Ruth Weiner thought that their kids would enjoy it. Now Seven Stories is in the midst of readying Gifford’s Sad Stories of the Death of Kings for both children and adults. It will be the press’s first book to be released simultaneously, in paper over board for older teens and paperback original for adults, and it will feature two different pieces of cover art.
Although Gifford wrote the book for adults, he likes the idea of dual editions. “I thought, Why not? I’m happy to have this double-barreled publication,” he said. Not only was Gifford aware of Sherman Alexie’s successful transition to YA, but Simon asked him only to change one sentence. The new sentence ended up going into both editions. —From Publishers Weekly
September 1, 2010
Roy read a story about a tribe of female warriors who interrupted the conﬂict between the Greeks and the Trojans in their quest for males to assist in the propagation of their race. These women called themselves Amazons and were led by Penthesilea, who, as had the rest of the tribe, severed her right breast in order to more swiftly and easily draw back her bow. The most exciting part of the story, Roy thought, was the Amazon queen’s confrontation with the champion of the Greeks, Achilles, whose ferocity in battle attracted Penthesilea as no man ever had. For the ﬁrst time she encountered a man she could consider her equal.
The idea of a tribe of brave, vicious, single-breasted women was almost beyond the comprehension of Roy’s eleven-year-old mind. He drew pictures of the Amazons as he imagined them, naked, tall, and lean, their long hair tied back with leather thongs.
Roy asked his grandfather if he’d ever read this story.
“Sure,” said Pops, “it’s in The Iliad, by Homer.”
“That’s right,” Roy said. “I kind of found it by accident on a table at the library. Do you think there really ever was a tribe of savage women like that?”
“I don’t think savage is the correct word for them, Roy. They knew what they were doing.”