Virtual Event: Askold Melnyczuk and Gene Kwak
The Man Who Would Not Bow & Other Stories
Go Home, Ricky!:
in conversation with NINA MACLAUGHLIN
October 19, 2021
5:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes ASKOLD MELNYCZUK—author of Excerpt from Smedley's Secret Guide to World Literature and founding editor of AGNI—and acclaimed writer GENE KWAK for a discussion of their books The Man Who Would Not Bow & Other Stories and Go Home, Ricky!: A Novel. They will be joined in conversation by NINA MACLAUGHLIN, author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Man Who Would Not Bow and Go Home, Ricky! on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About The Man Who Would Not Bow
In the eight stories comprising The Man Who Would Not Bow the cast of characters includes a journalist in a Middle Eastern war zone, an unemployed actor struggling with elder care, members of a commune planning to kidnap a priest, a torturer's mother and, finally, Nikolai Gogol wrestling with his angels and demons.
About Go Home, Ricky!
After seven years on the semi-pro wrestling circuit, Ricky Twohatchet, a.k.a. Richard Powell, needs one last match before he gets called up to the big leagues. Unlike some wrestlers who only play the stereotype, Ricky believes he comes by his persona honestly—he’s half white and half Native American—even if he’s never met his father. But the night of the match in Omaha, Nebraska, something askew in their intricate choreography sets him on a course for disaster. He finishes with a neck injury that leaves him in a restrictive brace and a video already going viral: him spewing profanities at his ex-partner, Johnny America. Injury aside, he’s out of the league.
Without a routine or identity, Ricky spirals downward, finally setting off to learn about his father, and what he finds will explode everything he knows about who he is—as a man, a friend, a son, a partner, and a wrestler. Go Home, Ricky! is a sometimes-witty, sometimes-heart-wrenching, but always gripping look into the complexities of identity.
Praise for The Man Who Would Not Bow
"Askold Melnyczuk fascinates me with his cartography, mapping the contours of consciousness and spirit across the centuries. The spectrum of his sensibilities always delights and seduces, or provokes and puzzles. Like his Ukrainian forbearer Gogol, Melnyczuk can summon forth the grotesqueries of continental mysticism, and switch lenses to deliver his readers into a contemporary DeLillo-esque realm of cold but metaphysically ambiguous realism. He’s a literary chameleon, and irresistible." —Bob Shacochis
"From veteran Melnyczuk, a collection of nine stories that often explore the links between the lusty and the high-minded and that make an argument for their being not opposing values but flip sides of a coin . . . Smart, complex stories that can on occasion feel diffuse but that never fail to hold the reader’s interest." —Kirkus Reviews"
Praise for Go Home, Ricky!
“It's impossible not to root for underdog wrestler Ricky Twohatchet, a scrappy, good-natured bigmouth with very bad luck. Bleak, funny, and bittersweet, Go Home, Ricky! is about finding your people and finding your place in the world. Gene Kwak’s playful, adroit prose is as offbeat as it is heartfelt—this is an unforgettable debut.” —Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light: Stories, longlisted for the National Book Award
“Gene Kwak is an enormously talented young writer who has a way of untangling race and masculinity with a lot more humor and originality than any of his contemporaries. Go Home, Ricky! has stayed with me. I can’t forget its rhythm and energy.” ―Catherine Lacey, author of Pew and Certain American States
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