In his debut short fiction collection, A Scholar of Pain, Grant Jerkins remains—as the Washington Post put it—“Determined to peer into the darkness and tell us exactly what he sees.” Here, the depth of that darkness is on evident, oftentimes poetic, display. We meet, and come reluctantly to sympathize with: The office chair-sniffer who only wants to be loved, a bottomed-out cough-syrup addict, a terminally ill school bus driver who takes her young riders on a drunken suicide run, and a cheated-on housewife who discovers her husband’s other woman isn’t a woman at all, but a…No spoilers here. Just read it. Read all sixteen of these deviant diversions. Peer into the darkness.
Praise for A SCHOLAR OF PAIN:
“A Scholar of Pain hits that literary sweet spot: Could be crime fiction, might be southern gothic—or even horror. The stories are funny as hell, too. And compassionate. In fact, Jerkins’ voice is amongst the most compassionate I’ve heard, because he extends it to some hideous wretches in a way that underscores the humanity I share with them. I heartily recommend Grant Jerkins.” —Jedidiah Ayers, author of Peckerwood and Fierce Bitches
“Sophisticated. Elegant. Sleek and demolishing.” —Ryan Sayles, author of Subtle Art of Brutality and Warpath
“A joyous celebration of the darkness within us all. With A Scholar of Pain, Grant Jerkins gives an unflinching look—with no anger or judgment—into the realities that surround us. It’s one thing to write a convincing and compassionate love story, but writing one that involves a sex doll, well that’s another thing completely.” —DH Tuck, author of Formica