A boxer willing to risk everything when he has nothing to lose. A father trying to live his dreams through his estranged son. A dog trainer whose dogs are the closest to fatherhood he will ever come. A whale trainer taking a stroll on the wild side of sexuality after his leg is munched off by an orca. A collector whose beautiful wife is now confined to a rocking chair. A sex addict’s struggle for redemption. A fighter’s journey at the end of the world to perfect his craft.
At first glance, these characters seem to have nothing in common. However, under Davidson’s pen, they become larger than life, completing each other in intertwined stories. Through each of them, Davidson depicts a world dark and bitter, a world that is all too familiar.
Rust and Bone is like no book ever written. Much more than just a promising debut, it is a powerful and provocative collection of stories altogether.
While some writers would have built elaborate, complex, and troubled characters just for the sake of looking down on them, Davidson does so to take the reader down to the level of human distress in a compassionate way, seeing eye to eye with his characters. Rubbing elbows with those troubled characters, the reader embarks in an introspection, digging deep within himself to find a common ground on which he can shamefully relate to the characters.
Opening ourselves to our darker selves proves to be somewhat therapeutic for the reader: In questionning ourselves, we often find that the characters seem a bit too familiar… until we realize we can see ourselves in every one of them.
All of Rust and Bone’s main characters have one thing in common. They are struggling with life. Through various means, they will seek enlightenment, a glimpse of hope through the darkness of their days. Never condescending, the last thing Davidson wishes to emulate from his readers is pity.
Davidson masterfully creates atmospheres and images through exhaustive descriptions, without rendering his texts heavy or dull. The result will most certainly earn him comparisons to Brett Easton Ellis, the mastermind who has penned the very controversial American Psycho. In fact, Ellis has already been singing Davidson’s praises. Other fans of his writings include highly respected authors such as Clive Barker and Thom Jones, just to name a few.
Davidson’s debut is not a feel-good read. It will make you cringe. It will make you think. But ultimately, it will leave you feeling very much alive.
Craig Davidson’s first novel, tentatively titled Fighting Stock is scheduled to come out next September. Until then, make sure you log on to the author’s blog at www.penguinblogs.ca/davidson.