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Book Title

Sea Dogs

Author 1
John Bensko
Maybe it comforts you that the high seas and the romantic past are the only places you'll run into us, as if we're no more than pages in a book. Think again. We're no dream. I, Morales, am king of the pirates. I am at your doorstep.

Languid summer days and nights develop unpredictably in Sea Dogs, John Bensko's imaginative debut collection. He takes us from the remote interior of Mexico to the streets of New York, and lingers in the harbors and beaches of the coastal South. In the least likely places, the absurd and mysterious mingle with the ordinary, and Bensko's emotionally adrift, quirkily obsessive characters find the connections they never knew they needed.

A mother discovers her distant, retiring young son's secret collection of eerily beautiful insect corpses. A blind man proves himself a preternaturally talented fisherman, humiliating a guide who doubts his skill. And in the title story, a security officer at the Statue of Liberty who spends his days rescuing panicky visitors halfway up the stairs considers himself a swashbuckling pirate.

With charm and subtle wit, Bensko's stories seamlessly shift from the real into the fantastic and reveal the magic and mystery that simmer just beneath the surface of our lives.

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5 1/4 x 8 1/2
"Sea Dogs is casual and deft, as if the stories were handed over by a brilliant friend who has nothing to prove but has seen it all." —Barry Hannah

About the Author

John  Bensko
Credit: Cary Holladay
John Bensko is the author of Sea Dogs and three books of poetry: Green Soldiers (winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award), The Waterman’s Children, and The Iron City. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee, and teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of Memphis.
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  • “A beautiful book by an astonishingly gifted writer with the uncanny ability to see, in the chaos of human experience, the luminous contours of myth. An authentic original.”—Steve Stern
  • “Sea Dogs is a debut collection of stories of stunning originality. John Bensko knows the inner landscapes of a strange and wonderful range of characters who command our attention from the first words to the last. And Bensko’s Yale-Series-of-Younger-Poets pedigree is clearly evident. He seems incapable of writing a bland sentence.  I love this book.”—Robert Olen Butler
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