Published by Seven Stories Press http://www.sevenstories.com/book/?GCOI=58322100463420
Roy is a lover of adventure movies, a budding writer, and a young man slowly coming of age without the benefit of a father. Surrounding him—whether to support him or to drag him under—is the adult world of postwar Chicago, a city haunted by violence, poverty, and the redeeming power of imagination. Here are charlatans, operators, alien abductees, schoolyard nudists, and fast girls with only months to live. At the center of it all is a boy learning to navigate the compromises, disillusionments and regrets that come with the territory of living. Mixing memoir and invention, the forty-one short stories in Barry Gifford’s first book for young adults bring a city—and a boy’s growing consciousness—to vivid, unflinching life.
Barry Gifford’s Sad Stories of the Death of Kings gleams like a stolen silver dollar; one boy’s search for wisdom among the hustlers, criminals, and wise guys that reads as evocatively as anything out of Nelson Algren. These stories, sometimes only a page or two, riddled with sharp, subtle dialogue, all glow with the devastating, sometimes gruesome wisdom of Sherwood Anderson and Flannery O’Connor.
– Joe Meno, author of The Great Perhaps and Hairstyles of the Damned
Gifford’s great talent captures defining moments with the casual grace of anecdote. [He] makes the anecdotal monumental.
– Jonathan Keats, San Francisco Magazine