Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Alleyway Books
Date Published: November 3, 2014
Like his mentors Chuck Kinder and Lewis Nordan, Michael Gerhard Martin writes deeply textured stories that take you into the minds and souls of the people you see in discount stores, grocery aisles, and gas stations. In the tradition of Raymond Carver, Martin's tales give dignity and grace to adults caught in the cold grip of poverty and to their children, who struggle mightily with broken homes, bullying, racism, and the constant hum of anger, violence, and resentment that is their lives.
In a voice ringing with emotion, the stories in Easiest If I Had A Gun will remind you what literature is for--that great project of taking us deeper into life, laying it bare, and transforming it with words into something we can hold in our hearts.
Easiest If I Had A Gun is a dazzling debut of startling power and vision. Yes, these stories are beautifully crafted and have that satisfying suddenness of a wonderfully written short story. Yes, this book is a remarkable, riveting achievement. Yes, these stories are heartbreaking, brave, bitter, angry, and full of rage; but they also possess great beauty and soul, and their savagery is strangely tender and glorious. I swear these stories will rattle your reading world!
--Chuck Kinder, author of Honeymooners
Michael Gerhard Martin can make you wince and laugh and tear-up and cringe all in the same moment. The stories in this collection map the joy and cruelty and defeat and stoic perseverance of characters who bear, in their daily lives, burdens they only partly understand but carry with resilience and dignity. Each of these stories is an exquisite, pitch-perfect performance, and the people you meet in them will remain with you long after you finish this remarkable book.
--Richard Hoffman, author of Love & Fury; Half the House; Interference & Other Stories.
from the 2013 James Knudsen Prize letter:
This story accomplishes the difficult task of portraying a victim with complete personhood and without stereotype or pathos. Most of all, 'Shit Weasel Is Late for Class' surprised me, went in directions I didn't expect, and did so with utter believability. The story is authentic and unique.
--Lucy Bledsoe, judge, and author of among other works, The Big Bang Symphony
Michael Gerhard Martin grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and took his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He teaches at Babson College and for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer Programs. He has been a finalist for multiple contests including the Hudson Prize, the Nelligan Prize, a Glimmer Train New Writers contest, and the Iowa and John Simmons Fiction awards; he is the winner of the 2013 James Knudsen Prize from the University of New Orleans for his story, "Shit Weasel Is Late For Class." His work has appeared in Junctures, Bayou Magazine, and The Ocean State Review. Easiest If I Had A Gun is his first book.