October 28, 2014

The Dunning Man Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Dunning Man by Kevin Fortuna! Today I have my review of the book to share with you. To follow along with the tour, click HERE.

The Dunning Man

Author: Kevin Fortuna
Genre: Short Stories
Release Date: October 19, 2014
Publisher: Lavender Ink


The six stories in Kevin Fortuna’s hilarious and gripping debut story collection, The Dunning Man, feature anti-heroes who reject society’s rules, and often show a gritty, Irish American take on the worlds in which they live. Characters from all walks of life—a rogue hip-hop star, a blackjack dealing mom, a middle-aged drunk plowing through his inheritance, and an empty nester housewife trying to make peace with the past. They each exist in the here and now, living for what’s possible and what’s left—not what they’ve left behind. Redemption awaits all, but only along the rutted, gut-churning path of honest self-examination. Age quod agis.

Set in Atlantic City, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., the Hudson Valley and Manhattan, Fortuna’s stories depict the violent clash between society’s expectations and the chaotic arc of individual destiny. These are powerful tales of truth seekers imbued with larger-than-life personalities and the all-consuming need to find something worth seeking.

Praise for The Dunning Man:

These stories are by turns wry and funny, harrowing and heartbreaking. Kevin Fortuna writes with startling clarity and insight about success, hope and longing and about people struggling to do the right thing, and sometimes failing. He writes with his heart and his head and with a sheer ballsy velocity you don’t come across very often. — Kevin Moffett, author of Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events and The Silent History

With clear, exacting prose Kevin Fortuna presents damaged yet indelible characters grappling with shame, pain, and darkness as they teeter on the brink. One gets the sense that these men and women are only hanging on by a thread, and Fortuna triumphs by refusing to let us look away. — Skip Horack, Stegner Fellow and award-winning author of The Southern Cross and The Eden Hunter

Fortuna’s people defy life by living, and suck every last breath out of a deflated balloon. They are exhilarating people with fully lived lives, expertly drawn. Fortuna’s people are people you’d want to know, whose lives you may well admire. They may even be you. — Mark Warren, Executive Editor of Esquire

The Dunning Man is a delightful collection of six short stories that takes the reader on a backstage tour to life. The stories occur in various locations - Washington D.C., Atlantic City, New Orleans, Manhattan, and the Hudson Valley. Just as the locations vary, so do the narrators in each story. The characters come from all walks of life - all races, differing social standing, both genders, and each one unique. I'm not normally a fan of short story collections, but I thought I'd broaden my reading and gave this book a chance. I have to admit that at first I was slightly confused and disappointed. Each story is short, but contains a vibrant picture of the main character and their lives - whether it be happy, sad, or a bit of both. As I mentioned earlier, each main character is incredibly different from story to story. They are all similar in the fact that most people would consider them anti-heroes who live on the fringe of society and reject the rules imposed upon them. After reading each of the six stories, I still wasn't impressed. The writing was well done and the stories themselves were fascinating, but I just didn't feel them coming together - it seemed they were random stories with no connection with one another at all. Once I took a step back and thought about each story with its main character and plot, I realized that I was trying to look at the work in too small of a way. Each of the stories were small examples of life and pieces to a greater puzzle. When you take all of the stories and put them together - it shows a much larger picture of humanity as a whole. Once I noticed this bigger theme, I realized that each short story had its own important part to play in order to create society. The stories are most universal as well - the reader is able to identify with a character in each story and understand what their life is like - even if it's for just a few moments. This collection is definitely thought provoking and makes you take a different look at life. There's something for everyone in these stories and I believe that each reader will take something unique away with them after finishing it.
Kevin Fortuna lives in Cold Spring, New York. He obtained a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Georgetown University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the Quicksall Medal for Writing, a Fellowship in Fiction at the Prague Summer Writers Workshop and a Full Fellowship in Fiction at the University of New Orleans, where he received his MFA.

Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble


1 comment:

  1. I like that the stories came together for you as you kept reading. I always enjoy when stories are connected like that.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!