They three carry the dead body up from the hole. They drag him through the night woods. Dead Brother. Dead Brother is full of holes. They carry him down to the river—lay his body on the bank. They three pause over him, air heavy around them, their faces darkened for the moment. The first reaches into her and pulls out a strawberry. The bright red glow of strawberry in the black night. Gently she presses the strawberry into his chest. Pushes it deep deep. The second places a fish hook and knife beside his body. The third places a spool of fishing line an old wooden chair and a box of matches. They three touch his face then exit through the curtain. Dead Brother lies alone on the bank, half sunk in the mud. His mouth drips a dark red pulp. A spotlight burns his skin.
He opens his eyes.
A deep breath.
–from “Onto the Dark Stage”
“Grant’s words clamp on and refuse absolution.”
–Lily Hoang, author of Changling
“’Over and over I am killed into life’: A.T. Grant’s Wake is an ultraviolent Jacobean pageant-as-novel, a relentless attempt to generate a woundscape equal to the horrors of the world, a fairytale that hauls “Dead Brother” and “Dead Sister” into a tunnel that maybe lead not out of its claustrophobic, throbbing space, but into our undead bodies.”
–Johannes Goransson, author of The Sugar Book
“Toward the corner of a stage in a theater of the impossible is where A.T. Grant directs our gaze in WAKE, a book whose characters are at once dead and alive, absent and present, ghost and substance, damned and reprieved. There is something of rust belt America in the book’s setting, but, in spirit, it is close to the works of Samuel Beckett and Salvador Dalí. A story almost without nationhood, or culture. A symbology of blood that observes itself with solemnity and humor.”
–Edward Mullany, author of Figures for an Apocalypse
AT Grant is the author of WAKE and Collected Alex. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014. He lives in Virginia. Contact him at a.t.grant295@gmail or on Twitter @collectedalex.