SHANN RAY’S story collection AMERICAN MASCULINE (Graywolf Press), a muscular ensemble of stories set primarily in the small towns and reservations of Montana, is the winner of the American Book Award.
Named by Esquire as one of Three Books Every Man Should Read, and selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Book, Best Short Story Collection, and Editor’s Choice selection, American Masculine considers the threshold over which men and women pass into a new country of grace. Winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, American Masculine also won the High Plains Book Award for Best First Book and Best Short Story Collection.
With starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, the American Library Association, Kirkus Reviews and Shelf-Awareness American Masculine has been called a book of “elegance”, “muscularity” and “astonishing power”, “prophetic”, “lyrical” and “fiercely written”, forming a ”true and pure depiction of sorrow and a primer for forgiveness.” ”These stories are powerful literary stunners,” said Booklist, “there is not a weak story in the entire collection.”
In addition to his collection of stories American Masculine, Ray is also the author of Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity (Rowman & Littlefield), an Amazon Top Ten Hot New Release in War and Peace in Current Events.
The winner of the Subterrain Poetry Prize, the Crab Creek Review Fiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Inlander Short Story Award, the Poetry Quarterly Poetry Prize, and the Ruminate Short Story Prize, Ray’s work has appeared in some of the nation’s leading literary venues including Poetry, McSweeney‘s, Narrative, Best New Poets, StoryQuarterly, Poetry International, Northwest Review and Five Chapters. He is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Division. Shann grew up in Montana and spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Washington where he teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University as well as with refugees in Kakuma, Kenya and Dzaleka, Milawi.
* WINNER, BREAD LOAF WRITERS’ CONFERENCE BAKELESS PRIZE *
* WINNER OF TWO HIGH PLAINS BOOK AWARDS *
* KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK *
* KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST SHORT STORY COLLECTION *
* KIRKUS REVIEWS FAVORITE BOOKS: EDITOR’S PICK *
* ESQUIRE’S 3 BOOKS EVERY MAN SHOULD READ *
* TEN MANLIEST BOOKS, AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION *
* THE STORY PRIZE, NOTABLE COLLECTION *
AMERICAN MASCULINE receives critical acclaim from ESQUIRE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred), KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred), BOOKLIST (starred), SHELF AWARENESS (starred), FOREWORD, (featured review), THE KENYON REVIEW, RAIN TAXI, RUMINATE, SALON.COM, 3G1B, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS, THE INTERNATIONAL ARTS MOVEMENT, THE QUIVERING PEN, WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS, MONTANA ARTS COUNCIL, BOOKFOX, FICTION WRITERS REVIEW, GIRL SEEKS PLACE, CITY BOOK REVIEW, FERIATUS, BOOKS PERSONALLY and WORD/SOUND.
Praise for AMERICAN MASCULINE
“Shann Ray’s prose brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx but is, thankfully, entirely his own. His work is lyrical, prophetic, brutal yet ultimately hopeful.”—Dave Eggers, author of WHAT IS THE WHAT, editor of McSWEENEY’S
“Written in prose both fierce and elegant, AMERICAN MASCULINE is a commanding debut. With stories set in and around the reservation lands of the American West, Shann Ray hones the cutting edge between desire and need, despair and beauty. The scope of these stories and depth of their complexity result in an extraordinary collection that is the gift of an exceptional talent. I am reminded once again, of what it means to encounter genuine grace.”—Claire Davis, author of LABORS OF THE HEART
“AMERICAN MASCULINE is a powerful fiction debut. These ten stories reveal Shann Ray’s unique voice, his lyrical vision of the West, and his always-eloquent contemplation of the mysteries of grace and forgiveness.”—Jess Walter, National Book Award finalist for THE ZERO
“Shann Ray writes about small western towns and their residents in tough, poetic, and beautiful ways. I recognize many of these people, and that’s good, but I’m also surprised and stunned by many others, which is great. Buy the book and read it tonight. You’ll love it, too.”—Sherman Alexie, PEN Faulkner Award winner for WAR DANCES
“AMERICAN MASCULINE by Shann Ray both mule-kicked me in the heart and bolstered my soul. These stories are about men and women struggling to keep their humanity alive, trying to grow hope from failure and loss. The prose is beautiful, and the empathetic connection delivered through these characters hit me in a deep place. I believe the best of what fiction can do is to allow us to see ourselves, though in a way that’s bearable. Through this investigation, this introspection, I believe I became a better version of myself through reading AMERICAN MASCULINE.”—Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT
“Ray writes with an unsettling power in his first collection of stories, AMERICAN MASCULINE. The characters are as outsized as the western landscape they inhabit, and the images are so disturbingly crafted–a mob of red-faced passengers hurling a thief onto the tracks; a car caught in a muddy river with a family floating inside it; a snow-clotted basketball net exploding in a crystalline halo–that they imprint themselves on the reader like a beautiful infection.”—Benjamin Percy, author of REFRESH, REFRESH, from Esquire
“Bold. Lyrical. Deeply felt. Fiercely written.In these stories, Shann Ray grapples with the terrible hurt we inflict on those we love, and finds that reconciliation, if far off, is at least possible.”—Graywolf Press
“The sentences in this book have such grace and muscularity… the author’s images and events carry the nearly visceral weight of memory… AMERICAN MASCULINE is a powerful, resonant work of literature, and Shann Ray is a masterful and original writer.”—Robert Boswell, Bakeless Prize Judge, and author of CENTURY’S SON