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With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.
Recent Press & Endorsements
(Starred Review) “With this excellent collection of 15 jagged, fragmented pieces, dark fantasist Rosson subverts expectations and challenges his characters and his readers alike to second-guess their preconceptions. Evil is just as likely to spring from daily life as to lunge out of the supernatural in these disquieting tales. . . . These powerful stories will leave readers unsettled in the best ways.” – Publishers Weekly – Full Review
“Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is an unforgettable and often heartbreaking one-two punch of satire of and elegy for a decayed America.” – Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song
“Keith Rosson is a storyteller with magic and grit to spare. Mesmerizing from the first sentence to the last, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a phenomenal collection.” – Andy Davidson, author of The Boatman’s Daughter
“Effortlessly brilliant, entertaining and full of raw emotion, Rosson’s work takes you out of your comfort zone and into new landscapes of fiction. Literate, horrific, humanistic, sardonic. I’ve never read stories quite like Rosson’s and that is a great thing.” – John Hornor Jacobs, author of A Lush and Seething Hell
“Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is full of magic, but Rosson manages to glaze even the everyday with a singular glow. Wild, weird, quietly unsettling, beautifully absurd – each of these stories is bound by the riskiest and most rewarding human endeavor: a desire for connection.” –Kimberly King Parsons, National Book Award-nominated author of Black Light
“There’s a busted heart beauty to Rosson’s dazzling collection full of misdirection and literary mutation. Like some kind of punk rock Kelly Link, he takes you on a singular voyage through world-weary resignation and enchanted love in a way that feels sincere and earned and more than a little magical.” – Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of The Loop and Skullcrack City
“Deadpan tragedies, comic transcendence, elegant ambiguities: in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, Keith Rosson knows everything’s always about to go sideways, so strike up the band, let’s dance.” – Kathe Koja, author of The Cipher
“Each story in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a bullet. Fast. Weird. Funny. Horrifying. This is a collection of unique grace and pleasure amongst all the oddities and twists. A major accomplishment.” – Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsterland
“There’s a fierceness to Rosson’s intellect, a wildness to his imagination, a crackling energy in his prose. The stories in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons are often strange and sometimes funny and always irresistible. Like a brakeless train tearing through the tunnel of my mind, the propulsion and potency of this collection woke me up in the way only the best literature can.” – Alan Heathcock, author of Volt and 40
(5 Stars) “Keith needs very few words to paint the sum of someone’s character in vivid color. Each of these 15 stories tells a tale of someone that feels familiar. I love how immersive his writing is, even in short stories, where you’re only with the characters for a few thousand words. You can’t help but understand their deepest emotions.” – Aconite Cafe – Full Review