Stunning and visceral in its emotional impact, The Dark Will End The Dark collects 14 stories by veteran author Darrin Doyle. Deftly mixing realism and fabulism, bleakness and hope, sparkling dialogue and unforgettable characters, these literary Midwestern Gothic tales remain in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned.
“The human body, logic, and language are all rent apart and remade dazzlingly anew in these fourteen stories. With the droll fabulism of Nikolai Gogol and the moral heft of Shirley Jackson, Doyle’s characters face problems both surreal and all-too-real...Fantastical yet close to the bone, these stories are both wounding and wondrous.”
- Monica McFawn, author of Bright Shards of Someplace Else, winner of the Flannery O’ Connor Award
“Doyle's stories are lamentations, demented fairy tales, and quests for enlightenment in which the author explores bodily dysfunction and ungainly lust while familial love hums in the background. In the manner of George Saunders, Doyle uses his smart, light language to lift readers above the darkness of shame and humiliation that brings so many of his characters to their knees.”
- Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River and American Salvage, finalist for the National Book Award
“Darrin Doyle’s a mad scientist who has stitched together a hauntingly beautiful collection from tattered body parts and a strange, ragged heart. It is only after you’ve been defibrillated by the stories in The Dark Will End the Dark that you realize you’ve been dozing through the days. Doyle’s got his fingers on the pulse of our brave new American psyche and his writing blazes electric.”
- Jason Ockert, author of Wasp Box and Neighbors of Nothing
“Darrin Doyle’s The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is about, well, the girl who ate Kalamazoo, but it’s about much more than that: family, religion, urban blight and renewal, fame, literature, sister love, and weightlifters. In creating this girl who can and will eat everything, Darrin Doyle has created a way to talk about the things that matter most to us. It’s an incredible, riotous, beautifully written, sneakily profound novel. I don’t know of another book like it; I would be jealous of it if I weren’t so busy being amazed.”—Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
“As quirky, funny, and masterful as it is, Darrin Doyle’s The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo isn’t just a book about a girl who ate a city – it’s about the hunger we all have, for love, for family, for home.” Alix Ohlin, author of The Missing Person
In this charming novel, Darrin Doyle paints a captivating portrait of the all-American family—if the all-American family’s youngest child ate an entire city in Michigan with a smile, that is. Doyle has a flare for writing about family dysfunction with a twist. With a unique blend of realism and fantasy, The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is the moving story of the hauntingly beautiful Audrey Mapes, who began her illustrious “career” by downing crayons by the carton only to graduate to eating an entire city one bite at a time. With vivid, acerbic wit, Doyle details the life of the world’s most gifted “eatist” through the eyes of Audrey’s sister, McKenna. Through her eyes, we see the real tragedy of the Mapes story is not the destruction of a city, but rather, the quiet disintegration of a family who just didn’t quite know how to love.
“Darrin Doyle’s startling first novel is dirty and sweet, funny and terrifying. But above all else, it’s one of a kind: I’ve never read a book like Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet, one that so daringly and empathetically depicts the sometimes messed up, sometimes beautiful things we do in the name of love”—Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
“[This] is the kind of quirky, subversively off-center novel that page by page accumulates what becomes a sustained inner hilarity. It’s a story that requires perfect tonal pitch, and Darrin Doyle, in this his first novel, makes that look easy.”—Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
“A deftly made, raucous tale of love and its attendant hungers and humiliations. Doyle has conceived original characters in that ‘poor twit’ Mr. Portwit and his fleshy wife, Mary Ann, whose bodily sacrifices in the name of love—self-love and other—are, finally, heartbreaking.”—Christine Schutt, author of Florida, a National Book Award finalist
“Doyle’s novel takes on both the teacher’s lounge and married life in the way a shotgun takes on the squirrel and the pigeon. As soon as tiny science teacher Mr. Portwit gets himself a wife, he tucks his napkin into his collar and plots revenge against all who have wronged him, while in the background, the students ‘cluck like poultry.’ This wacky and philosophical story that suggests that the secret to a contented life may not be so different than the one employed in education: let’s simply lower our standards. That said, this is also a convincing tale of romantic love.”—Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Q Road
Fifty-year-old science teacher Dale Portwit believes that the peak of his life has come and gone. A failed suicide, a food fetishist, so isolated that the Best Man at his wedding is a framed photograph of his former mailman, Mr. Portwit resolves to live entirely for the moment, to speak his mind at each turn no matter what the consequences. He sets his sights upon Mary Ann Tucker, Elkhart Elementary’s plump, accommodating third-grade teacher. Their whirlwind courtship leads to wedding bands, a house in the suburbs, and an indulgent sex life—so why aren’t they happy? Perhaps a little revenge is just what this marriage needs.
Decidedly odd, yet also oddly moving, Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet is a skillful mix of comedy, poignancy, love, memory, obesity, top-ten lists, fish, and murder.