Hell of a Thing
The powerful 2020 short story collection
Michael Botur’s work grabs you by the throat and won’t let you go. His artful short stories throb with pain, hope, misunderstanding, reconciliation, remorse, and surprise. As one reviewer says, “The authenticity is so scary, you wonder where this man has been and what demons followed him home…. .”
With his sixth collection of stories, this leading young New Zealand author and journalist finds purchase for the first time with an American publisher. In Hell of a Thing, a cowardly father seeks a more exciting son; two lovers on a posh date dine on self-delusion, and an author turns his back on his past–until the past demands violent closure. We meet artistic terrorists, renegade daughters, an Uber driver from Waziristan, and a crew of casino kids up past their bedtime–everything with a distinctive Kiwi flavour that lends a counter-clockwise swirl to otherwise familiar settings.
There is a ring of authenticity to Botur’s dialogue and physical descriptions, an unvarnished street language punctuated with demotic vocabulary and agitated rhythms, combined in collages of invective, obscenity, and acute observation. Says reviewer Jeremy Roberts, “It’s as if Mr. Botur hung out at fast-food outlets after midnight–swilling bad coffee, listening to conversations, and jotting observational notes under the garish yellow lighting.”
Available from The Sager Group and Amazon.com including Kindle.
“Michael Botur’s writing is a breath of fresh air. Just read him. You’ll see what I mean. This dude can write.”
—Alan Duff, MBE, author of Once Were Warriors
Read the stories free online.
A timid woman gets an opportunity to violently express herself after a traffic accident collides her with three men – a thug, a sleazebag, and her husband.
When their art is rejected and they are told they’ll never exhibit, a pair of artists plot revenge against their nemesis: Auckland Art Gallery.
A dissatisfied father seeks a more exciting heir – and finds it in the kid who is bullying his son at school.
Two lower-class lovers on a dinner date dine on self-delusion as the breadwinner struggles to justify how he’ll pay for the meal and maintain his relationship.
A group of friends hold up a popular peer- until after graduation they’re forced ask if it’s justified that Matt Lamb was the coolest kid in school.
The chronicle of a doomed affair between a book store owner and an unhappy salesman desperate to keep his serotonin levels up.
A troop of kids up way past their bed time in a casino club encounter their past, present, and disturbing future across three nights, years apart.
An author needing peace and quiet finds out how far he’ll go to silence the noisy neighbour – even if it means destroying the man’s life.
The tale of the drug dealer and the depressed doctor who needs cheering up – even if it means popping pills and partying.
A battered professional fighter is in for a hell of a ride when he finds out his Uber driver shared an ugly incident at the same boxing gym in the men’s youth.
I’m stuck inside my head, in an unhappy relationship, in a silent retreat in the mountains. Let me tell you why I need to scream.
A proud Persian family struggles to deal with its greatest embarassment – its selfish, fucked-up druggie of a daughter.
The true-ish story of four dorks who fight a war of words against the poetry critic who disses their poetry zine in the hallowed pages of the University of Otago student magazine.
A young Maori man from an unfulfilling tiny town plunges headlong into European party life and finds himself overwhelmed by shenanigans which turn really serious, really quickly.
A libertarian spends his last days of freedom living in the woods with his oblivious children as the cops close in.
An aspiring author gives up his literary dreams to feed his family, and all is well – until a violent confrontation with his younger self, who shows him how to take a leap of faith.