The Graybar Hotel: Stories by Curtis Dawkins

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Read The Graybar Hotel: Stories Online Free - In this stunning debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence.

In Curtis Dawkins’s first short story collection, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration—he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face.

In “A Human Number,” a man spends his days collect-calling strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In “573543,” an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament against another unit. In “Leche Quemada,” an inmate is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling then he expected. Dawkins’s stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail—the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws.

The Graybar Hotel tells moving, human stories about men enduring impossible circumstances. Dawkins takes readers beyond the cells into characters’ pasts and memories and desires, into the unusual bonds that form during incarceration and the strained relationships with family members on the outside. He’s an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor, and this is a powerful compilation of stories that gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society.

Title : The Graybar Hotel: Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1501162292
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 pages


Paromjit rated it ★★★★★

May 01, 2017

The Graybar Hotel is a collection of brilliant short stories that draw you into the harsh and demanding world of prison without resorting to the well known tropes of brutality and violence. Curtis Dawkins, the author, is a prison inmate serving life without parole, convicted of murder. He makes n...

Hannah rated it ★★★★☆

June 28, 2017

This collection of short stories reads more like non fiction - and I mean that in the best possible way. Curtis Dawkins tells stories of prison life - something he is intimately acquainted with as he is serving a life sentence for a robbery gone wrong (that is such a weird phrase by the way, as i...

Theresa rated it ★★★★★

May 27, 2017

If you like Orange is the New Black or are interested in the topics of addiction and our damaged prison system or if you just like well-written short stories, you will enjoy this collection authored by a man who is serving a life sentence for murdering a man during a home invasion. As with any sho...

Karen rated it ★★★★★

May 07, 2017

THE GRAYBAR HOTEL BY CURTIS DAWKINS This collection of short stories are as well written as any I have ever read. Curtis Dawkins is a talented writer and I was thoroughly transported into the scary world of losing all of my freedom. For when you are incarcerated you do not have any rights that I t...

♥ Sandi ❣ rated it ★★★☆☆

August 14, 2017

3.5 stars A book of 14 short stories, all related to prison life, written by an inmate incarcerated for murder. The stories are all fabrication taken from real life instances, played out among inmates, painting a picture of life behind bars, in the desolate facade of our U.S. prisons.

Rebecca rated it ★★★★☆

August 31, 2017

(3.5) My attention was drawn to The Graybar Hotel, the debut story collection by Curtis Dawkins, because the author is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence in a Michigan prison. (You can read more about his background in this Guardian article.) These 14 short stories are all set at least...

Sofia rated it ★★★★★

July 02, 2017

“All people are stories” and Dawkins give us some of these people, these stories, in a manner that grabbed me and kept me riveted and which made me think whilst smiling, being sad, being angry and wishing for a different reality. He sets aside the usual prison macho fare and delves in deeper so...

Misse rated it ★★★★☆

January 22, 2018

There are already a few excellent reviews listed here, so I won't beat a dead horse. I will say that I was completely drawn to The Graybar Hotel after learning that the author, Curtis Dawkins himself is serving a life in prison sentence, currently in Michigan. Each of the stories individually gav...

Kathleen rated it ★★★★☆

July 11, 2017

My review for the Chicago Tribune: Most books' publication dates fall on Tuesdays — that's just the industry standard. So the fact that Curtis Dawkins' debut story collection, "The Graybar Hotel," had July 4 as its official release date is not that surprisi...

Terri rated it ★★★★☆

August 23, 2017

The author of this book, Curtis Dawkins, is serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for a drug-related murder. He also has an MFA in writing. The collection of stories in The Graybar Hotel reflects both of these, and it gave me a new perspective on life behind bars. One...

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