2009 Title » Short Fiction
Although the stories in Gravity operate from the perspective of male speakers, the experiences they describe are as much about women as men. Bound up in them is the assumption that everything in life depends on being solvent, employed, and generally needed. These things constitute the gravity, or the seriousness, of one's situation—that which holds a person's life together and makes it mean something.
Michael Davis received an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana. He is currently completing a PhD in English/Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. He has been a William Saroyan Fellow, and was fiction editor of CutBank. His stories have appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review, The Black Mountain Review and other magazines.
In Michael Davis' world, everyone is "joyfully terrified." A whimsical alienation permeates the lives of people who struggle to awaken from the American Dream, and, failing, languish nobly, if absurdly, in the nightmare clutter of their lives. A generation finds one of its truly unique and powerful voices in this debut collection.
Michael Davis writes like a Nabokov who has never had a decent job, a Philip Roth of the low end of the service economy. His desperately funny narrators are rich in language but poor in everything else. Voice . . . is the miracle of these stories, which are finally not like anyone else's. Davis is such an original fashioner of voice in fiction that he seems to have reinvented the medium. A Michael Davis hero never met a job he didn't loathe, for good reason. Davis is the best interpreter to date of the ubiquitous humiliations of the early twenty-first century world of work . . . These are essential stories for their generation and for all of us who live as best we can by words.
One of the stories in Michael Davis' Gravity is titled "Living in It," and that could be the subtext for this entire compelling collection. The characters speak from a place of total immersion in their various strange, comic and wholly credible situations, but while their tangled-up-in-blueness might be overwhelming, their perception remains droll and clear, and that's the beauty of this excellent first book: its singular underlying vision—highly observant, detailed, tight, solid—that adapts to each individual story and makes from them a whole.
To purchase Gravity by Michael Davis, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.