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Kevin Canty   Honeymoon  
Kevin Canty    
interview

excerpt

excerpt

excerpt

 

Kevin Canty writes a special, particularly American breed of short story. It's a little bit mean, dirty but spare, tough and masculine, but still sensitive -- and usually just this side of outrageous, but sometimes on that side, too. His prose style owes something to Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff, but his stories have a different, wilder sense of energy. Each story quivers with the sense of being on the brink of something chaotic. In this essay, Canty calls that being alive.

Canty wrote a debut short story collection in 1994 called A Stranger in This World that has since become something of a cult classic. There's a Nan Goldin photo on the cover of the paperback of a young man who looks vaguely (very vaguely, but still it's palpable) like Johnny Knoxville. The paperback editions of Canty's two novels -- Into the Great Wide Open, about reckless adolescent love, and Nine Below Zero, and altogether darker affair about reckless middle-aged love -- also have Nan Goldin photos on the cover. And all three covers are perfect -- like Goldin's photos, Canty's writing is taut, penetrating, and provocative, stark but darkly luminous. And somehow his stories, like her photos, seem to be looking of the wrong thing in the wrong place -- and finding it.

In this case, quintessentially enough, the wrong thing is love. In Honeymoon, Canty has written a collection of love stories, but that description must be taken with the author's disclaimer that "they're not all pro-love." Here, read a few of those stories -- including two that debuted in Bold Type in 1999 (and in one of which Canty seems to be looking for love at a pre-adolescent fat camp) -- and Canty's essay about writing them, "Blind Man's Bluff."

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  Photo credit: Lucy Capehart

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