Davidson, Craig 1976-
Davidson, Craig 1976-
PERSONAL: Born 1976, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Education: Graduate of the University of New Brunswick.
Rust and Bone: Stories, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2005.
The Fighter (novel), Soho Press (New York, NY), 2007.
UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICK LESTEWKA
The Preserve (novel) Necro Publications (Sanford, FL), 2004.
Imprint (novel), Delerium Press, 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Prairie Fire, Fiddlehead, Event, and SubTerrain. Author of a blog.
SIDELIGHTS: Craig Davidson’s first collection, Rust and Bone: Stories follows a “Hemingway-esque tradition,” noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The eight stories feature hard, damaged men, most of whom are addicted to alcohol, sex, gaming, or violence. The include a boxer, a dog fighter, a magician, a gambler, and a repo man. Davidson’s characters have lost limbs, relationships, and the ability to change their lives.
The Kirkus Reviews writer concluded by noting that the stories are “thick with bleak characters and thin on redemption.” Booklist reviewer Joanne Wilkinson described Davidson’s prose as “ferociously detailed.” A Publishers Weekly contributor called Rust and Bone an “accomplished, macabre first collection.”
Prudence Peiffer commented in Library Journal that in addition to the hard-driving stories, “there are also quiet moments of grace.” Peiffer found these moments in “On Sleepless Roads” and “An Apprentice’s Guide to Modern Magic.”
In his 2007 novel, The Fighter, Davidson presents “a bloody, darkly funny novel about two young men trying to find their place in the world,” according to a Torontoist Web site reviewer. Beat up in a bar fight, Paul Harris, the privileged son of winery owners, decides to go into training and become a master of bare knuckles boxing. At the same time, but from a vastly different and less privileged background, teenager Rob Tully is working out to win the Golden Gloves and a meal ticket to the big time in boxing. Ultimately their troubled paths will intersect in the ring in this “dripping-with-testosterone debut novel,” as a Publishers Weekly reviewer described the work.
The same contributor went on to note: “Davidson’s writing is terse, coarse and fluid in descriptions of exposed viscera, splattered blood and broken bones.” Similarly,Booklist reviewer John Green observed: “Davidson’s detailed descriptions of the scars and disfigurements [received in a Thai boxing match] are delivered with such power and clarity that it’s worth the price of admission.” Green further observed: “For all its flaws, this is a memorable and moving first novel.” Holland Gidney, writing in This Magazine, had similar praise for this first novel: “Craig Davidson shows he’s got the writing chops to take on the heavyweights of CanLit.” For a Kirkus Reviews critic, Davidson’s writing was like “Harry Crews on steroids.” Focusing on the violence in the prose, California Literary Review Web site critic John Holt noted: “This guy’s work is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Gore, unrestrained violence and lots of graphic descriptions of physical damage permeate Davidson’s writing.” Holt also praised Davidson for his stylistic verve: “One of Davidson’s talents as a story teller is his natural ability to juxtapose stellar, energetic descriptions of physical confrontation with subtle, quirky explorations of human motivation, and he does this smoothly, seamlessly.” And Mark Dun-das Wood, writing on the Small Spiral Notebook Web site, termed The Fighter “an absorbing, if unsettling, read.”
Davidson also writes dark fantasy and action novels under the pseudonym Patrick Lestewka. The Preserve is a tale of a group of Vietnam veterans hired to travel to Canada to kill three escaped convicts. In the process, the vets get far more than they bargained for. Imprint, on the other hand, is an examination of the tricks the memory can play as recorded in the life of one man seeking revenge. Whether under his own name or that of Lestewka, Davidson has proven to be a writer with a distinct vision. As the Torontoist Web site contributor commented, “Davidson looks at feelings of shame, pride, and self-worth, all through the haziness that comes with a black eye.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Rust and Bone: Stories, p. 56; June 1, 2007, John Green, review of The Fighter, p. 35.
Books in Canada, January 1, 2007, Nancy Wigston, review of The Fighter, p. 37.
Canadian Business, September 11, 2006, “Taking All Comers,” p. 13.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of Rust and Bone, p. 1044; June 1, 2007, review of The Fighter.
Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Prudence Peiffer, review of Rust and Bone, p. 49.
Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of Rust and Bone, p. 29; May 21, 2007, review of The Fighter, p. 33.
This Magazine, September 1, 2006, Holland Gidney, review of The Fighter, p. 58.
Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival Online,http://www.wordfest.com/ (January 5, 2006), profile of Davidson.
Craig Davidson Home Page,http://www.craigdavidson.net (February 2, 2008).
Notes of a Defeatist,http://www.notesofadefeatist.com/ (March 19, 2006), “Craig Davidson Interview.”
Small Spiral Notebook,http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/ (July 20, 2007), Mark Dundas Wood, review of The Fighter.
Torontoist,http://www.torontoist.com/ (November 9, 2006), review of The Fighter.