The Growling Mouth

The Growling Mouth

by Adam Gnade

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Adam Gnade's novella The Growling Mouth is made up of two connected storylines, each a decade apart and each tied to the next by an infrastructure of shared history and small details. In the first storyline we follow James Jackson Bozic (main character of Gnade's Hymn California and The Darkness to the West) through his final week in Portland, Oregon before giving up on the city for a life in the wilds. The second storyline concerns Joey Carr and Ted Boone (characters from Gnade's latest novel, Caveworld). Carr and Boone navigate a foggy, Dubliners-esque neighborhood en route to wine, a dark apartment, and a terrifying hearthside story set on the shores of Normandy. What connects the two narratives is an unrecognized past--a suicide, a holiday, a hometown, and the Growling Mouth itself, a ghostly apparition the characters struggle to make sense of.

 
 

Comments

Tanner Ballengee thu 1/9 12:55pm

I bought this zine last summer and didn’t end up reading it until I hit the river. I threw this zine and a couple other books in my pack to read along the way. I didn’t read until after we got the boat.

What I like about Adam’s writing is that it’s painstakingly descriptive and alive. It’s not just printed words on paper; it’s a mutual experience shared between writer and reader. This zine (novella?) really made me feel like I was in the same room hearing the story first hand, or perhaps living it out, freezing cold on a Greyhound headed from Portland to Kansas.

My favorite part was the bus scene that I just mentioned. I think Adam wrote this based on his own experiences but I can’t say that for sure. But I hope it is just for that last scene. The bus, the people, the crash, the news reporter. All so real and alive. Reading stuff like this makes me glad that I’m a writer. Glad that I have a near-photographic memory. Glad that I have the resources, time, and skill to put those memories into printed words on paper.

Pick this up, and lots more, from Pioneers Press—a great distro based out of Kansas.

Dakota Floyd, http://dakotafloyd.tumblr.com/ 2/19/2013

I’ve had this zine for a month or two now, but somehow forgot it even existed until I was rooting through boxes of miscellaneous stuff, looking for something else entirely. I didn’t wind up finding what I had initially set out for, but I’m glad I found this.

The Growling Mouth is one of the best novellas (or really pieces of writing in general) that I’ve read in a really long time. The imagery that Gnade manages to seamlessly stuff into every sentence is astounding. Following two different, but interconnected stories, The Growling Mouth makes me feel like I’m riding in the middle seat of a worn out pickup truck traveling through the Midwest while “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins plays quiet through the tinny speakers — a strangle feeling that everything might just turn out alright after all… But maybe not.

This novella pummeled me, staring into the growling mouth myself, and I’ll definitely be reading it again. And soon. One of Gnade’s best.

You can get this novella (and several other of Gnade’s work) from the folks over at Pioneer’s Press. I can’t recommend it enough.

 
 
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