Eric was featured in an article in the Coastal Carolina University print journal, Tempo Magazine, written by local student Laurel Nusbaumer, regarding his reading at Second Cup in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on his East Coast leg of his Above All Men book tour:
“Shonkwiler’s subtle humor, along with his grotesque finesse, allowed for a sense of unsettling enjoyment.”
The final author of the night was Eric Shonkwiler. Shonkwiler read from Above All Men, his Midwest-gothic novel about the decline of America in the uncomfortably-soon future. Shonkwiler — his voice, deep, calming, and because of difficulties in projecting, plugged into a small battery-operated amplifier — didn’t read long enough. Kindly, however, he offered to sign books after the reading. One wouldn’t have foreseen such ardent appreciation for dark humor over the course of the night, but people were endeared by the strange tales — about miscommunication and belonging, the tribulations of Southern life, the things that lend our lives meaning, and a short description from Shonkwiler about a [calf]’s castration. Shonkwiler’s subtle humor, along with his grotesque finesse, allowed for a sense of unsettling enjoyment.
Afterward, the audience was eager to speak with Shonkwiler and the other authors. “I have never castrated a [calf],” commented Shonkwiler. “I simply got online and looked up how to do it.” He noted that, “It’s a surprisingly basic process. You know, they have a tool designed specifically for it — it looks like a nutcracker,” then smirking, commented, “Well, that’s actually what it is, I suppose.”
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