According to Russell Banks, North Carolina ex-pat Leon Rooke’s work charts “what the short story form can and cannot do, for he works out there in the terra incognita mapping limits.” Hitting the Charts, a nineteen story Best-Of compilation, offers stories as free from constraint as a Monk solo, and as disquieting and resonant as a southern Baptist preacher at a big-tent revival. Dancing is not forbidden.
“The theatrical quality of Rooke’s stories, combined with his merciless attention to form, presents the reader with a corrective to plot-driven, stale prose.”—Danforth Review
“He is the high-priest of maximalist panache, the standard-bearer for a hyper-rhetoric that is at once strange, eccentric, and beautiful.”—Douglas Glover
“He can break your heart in half all at once, like a kindly assassin, or chop it to bits with a dozen swift, sure strokes. He’s a writer with a black belt in portraying the small daily tragedies that break bones and leave no visible wounds. It’s when he’s funny, which he often is, that he’s most dangerous.”—Russel Banks