Featured in Pacifica Tribune

Eric was featured in the March 5-11th, 2014, issue of the Pacifica Tribune, where his novel, Above All Men, and his event at Florey’s Book Co. in Pacifica were both highlighted by reporter Jean Bartlett. The article is available in both newspaper print and online with the San Jose Mercury News Pacifica section.
Midwesterner’s debut novel draws comparisons to Steinbeck and Faulkner - a Florey’s book event

Eric Shonkwiler recently published debut novel Above All Men, is a Midwest Connections 2014 Pick, and is the recipient of some extraordinary press. Leah Angstman of the Los Angeles Review of Books called it, “a book that uniquely falls somewhere between The Grapes of Wrath, William Faulkner’s back porch steps, McCarthy’s road, and the Wild West frontier.” Jacob Budenz, of JMWW Journal wrote: “Shonkwiler’s straightforward prose is peppered with well-earned poetry, and pulls out moments of profound complexity through its simplicity. An entirely rewarding read.” Perhaps the most gripping of all the reviews is the write-up by Lydia Davis, blogger at Two-Legged Animal: “Think pre-apocalyptic Atticus Finch.” The author will be at Florey’s tomorrow night to discuss and sign his book.

Above All Men was published by MG Press, a micro-press devoted to publishing a small number of titles each year. The publisher’s focus is works by Midwest authors that showcase all aspects of life in America’s Heartland — good, bad, or ugly. Shonkwiler’s fictional novel takes place years from now. “America is slowly collapsing. Crops are drying up and oil is running out. People flee cities for the countryside, worsening the drought and opening the land to crime. Amid this decay and strife, war veteran David Parrish fights to keep his family and farm together. However, the murder of a local child opens old wounds, forcing him to confront his own nature on a hunt through dust storms and crumbling towns for the killer.”

As evidenced by the paragraph that opens Above All Men’s chapter 5, the Ohio-born Shonkwiler writes sparsely, but deeply — someone who knows that water, land, and sky can transform a life at each encounter. “Early June,” Shonkwiler’s chapter 5 begins. “It was hot and there had been only one brief rain in weeks. The grass was all blond and thinning to the cracked ground below. There was no green save their garden and the corn. Cicadas ground loud in the trees. David rode in from checking the cattle and fences and staring for a long while at his fields. After putting the horse up he checked the fuel tanks and went to sit at Danvers’ kitchen table, working at diesel figures. How much they had, how much they needed. Danvers sat in the living room through the wide doorway, fans arrayed around him. David set the pencil eraser-down on the table and tapped. —You think we can do without the glyphosate?”

“Shonkwiler writes sparsely, but deeply — someone who knows that water, land, and sky can transform a life at each encounter.”

Currently on a West Coast book tour, the week prior to his Pacifica stop, the author will be at the Red Velvet Lounge in Seattle’s Rendezvous, St. Johns Booksellers in Portland, the Coffee Garden in Sacramento, the Sports Basement in San Francisco’s Mission, and Dog Eared Books on Valencia, also in the Mission. Following Pacifica, Shonkwiler’s next book signing is at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. MG Press founders Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller — in an October interview with The Post: The Independent Voice on Campus and in Athens (Ohio) — admitted that if they hadn’t published Shonkwiler’s Above All Men, they would have regretted it.

Thursday, March 6, 7:00 p.m., author Eric Shonkwiler will be at Florey’s Book Co., 2120 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica, to discuss Above All Men.”