John Dugdale

Lost Dirty Realist

Trilobites & Other Stories

By

Vintage Classics 178pp £8.99 order from our bookshop

The eighth edition of Granta, the ‘Dirty Realism’ issue in 1983, celebrated ‘a generation of American authors who write about the belly-side of contemporary life … and have single-handedly revitalised the short story’. Breece Pancake’s first collection appeared in the same year. Joyce Carol Oates hailed ‘a young writer of such extraordinary gifts that one is tempted to compare his debut to Hemingway’s’. Yet while Pancake’s depictions of hardscrabble rural lives indisputably qualified as dirty realism, he was unable to capitalise on the surrounding excitement about this new wave of fiction, as four years previously he had taken his own life, aged twenty-six. He had published six stories in his lifetime, and another six were added to make up the posthumous volume. Now, thirty-one years later, it has been reissued.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,