This offshoot from the
author's novel, Adventures in the Alaskan Skin Trade,
shows us innocence lost-not so much to experience as to the erotic
and its astonishing images. An American family returns to its native
a reunion with the grandparents. As the story evolves, crowned by
and visionary scenes, we learn-along with the 12-year-old protagonist,
family's heritage of sexual despotism and its morality of extremes:
much" is the family motto.
"John Hawkes's prose carries a charge of intensity beside which
the ordinary run
of writing seems pathetically underfelt... INNOCENCE is an inspired
of writing ... handsomely produced, beautifully printed, a reading
--Jack Beatty, NYTimes Book Review
"This novella is one of Hawkes's most brilliant works because
of the compressed
balance, the deliberately controlled incongruities. It will not be
it is a dangerous, beautiful, final crossing."
--Irving Malin, The Hollins Critic
"A short novel that's vintage Hawkes-obsessive, hilarious,
scary, and simply beautiful."
--Russel Banks, Writer's Choice
"More accessible than much of Hawkes's fiction, its narrative
line is straightforward,
its structure clear and firm, its images readily comprehensible...
trapped in a characteristically American paradox-between an urbane
of sensuality and an agonized, Puritanic rejection of its destructive
unsoiled, Edenic innocence. INNOCENCE IN EXTREMIS affords an engrossing
introduction to Hawkses's concerns and his craft."
--Arthur Waldhorn, American Book Review
"Mr. Hawkes has the power to do, gorgeously
and as art, what most of us can at
best do drably and as dream: transform incident into phantasm."
-A.C. Danto, The New York Times Book Review
"...breathtakingly beautiful ... His sentences are themselves
"INNOCENCE IN EXTREMIS [contains] Some of the best scenes that
ever written, displaying the erotic mysteries of innocence struggling
--James Schevill, East Side Monthly