Michael Farris Smith is the author of Desperation Road, Rivers and The Hands of Strangers and is the recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Author Award. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, Catfish Alley, Deep South Magazine, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.
"Ferocious... vivid descriptions never slow the pace of the plot, which moves swiftly toward an inevitable but still surprising climax. As violent as it is poetic, Smith's novel draws the reader in from beginning to end."--Publishers Weekly Praise for The Fighter "One of those wonderful and rare books that's both a page-turner and a novel of great depth and emotion. The Fighter is Southern noir at its finest."--Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen and The Sinners "Smith excels in this dark and violent Southern grit-lit thriller. Fans of James Lee Burke will delight in the strong sense of place in the Deep South, while fans of David Joy will appreciate the protagonist's inner turmoil."--Library Journal (starred review) "This resourceful writer weds violence, despair, and glimmers of hope during a few tense days in the life of a once-legendary bare-knuckle fighter... A gifted storyteller who parses battered dreams and the legacies of abandonment with a harsh realism that is both saddening and engaging."--Kirkus (starred review) "Like living language, literary modes have both a formal and a demotic form. What we call 'noir' is high tragedy brought down to the forgotten and disavowed--the fallen, who can do little but go on falling. Ours to witness the beauty and power of their fall. With The Fighter, Michael Farris Smith brings that tradition brilliantly into the present."--James Sallis, author of Drive "Michael Farris Smith is continuing the Southern Gothic tradition of William Gay and Flannery O'Connor. Drenched in sorrow and written with complex language, The Fighter moves toward a conclusion both surprising and inevitable."--Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark and Kentucky Straight "I loved The Fighter. Michael Farris Smith is one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction. Just as I couldn't put down Desperation Road till I finished, I tore through this novel as well. I'm hooked."--Brad Watson, author of Miss Jane "One of those wonderful and rare books that's both a page-turner and a novel of great depth and emotion. The Fighter is Southern noir at its finest."--Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen and The Sinners "Michael Farris Smith is so good, I might actually hate him a little bit. The Fighter is a book I wish I'd written but am deeply grateful I got to read. It is a masterful portrait of place and character and how one influences the other, with language that is both brutal and tender at once. Smith loves Jack Boucher and the Mississippi Delta to the bone."--Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird "The Fighter is a beautifully written parable of a man, abandoned as a child, at war with himself. Hiding behind the expertly-handled plot and poetic meditations on violence and substance abuse is the notion that lack of family can send you on a continuous tumble through darkness. With its tension-filled and enlightening final chapters, The Fighter delivers a powerful and engaging read from one of our newest and finest writers."--Tim Gautreaux, author of The Missing "THE FIGHTER is a beautifully written parable of a man, abandoned as a child, at war with himself. Hiding behind the expertly-handled plot and poetic meditations on violence and substance abuse is the notion that lack of family can send you on a continuous tumble through darkness. With its tension-filled and enlightening final chapters, THE FIGHTER delivers a powerful and engaging read from one of our newest and finest writers."--Tim Gautreaux, author of THE MISSING "Beautiful, darkly violent prose, characters that are hard yet worthy of compassion and the unmistakable setting come together in a story that will stick with you long after you finish the last page. I read the last few chapters so fast that when I reached the end I had to pause and absorb, then go back and read them again to make sure I didn't miss a detail."--Dave Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC "Michael Farris Smith has inherited the rough south of Larry Brown and created his own rugged terrain. It is a world populated by people with few choices in life, not many of them good. This is another spare, powerful, beautifully composed work by a writer who can probe the dark side of the American dream like no other."--Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, Ms. "Michael Farris Smith's Desperation Road reads as if it were forged in a fire stoked by the ghosts of Carson McCullers, Larry Brown, and William Gay. The result is a novel rife with violent beauty and indelible grace." --Wiley Cash "Anchored by prose that is both poetic and brutal, Desperation Road is a gorgeous and violent book. but don't be fooled by the title. Smith's novel teems with the honest and believable humanity that only the bravest writers dare to search for in the most troubled souls."--Ivy Pochoda "An elegantly written, perfectly paced novel about a man and woman indelibly marked by violence. An outstanding performance."--Ron Rash Praise for Michael Farris Smith and Desperation Road "Elegant prose and masterful storytelling transform this tale into a work of literary art.... The author's skills are apparent on every page. The simplicity and clarity of the writing underlie and enhance his uncanny ability to unerringly depict a scene. The Southern, small town locale is so artfully described that when lightening strikes, the reader flinches."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Smith writes in spare, sharply observed language, like a more colloquial take on Cormac McCarthy.... The steady accumulation of phrases in Smith's prose conveys a sense of control even as the characters' lives seem marked by random misfortune."--Atlanta Journal Constitution "The book is elegant, even profound, the cadence of the words alluring, bringing the reader deeper into this world of gray.... Amidst this, there is a glimmer of hope to lead them into brightness again."--The Clarion-Ledger "Smith's lean, visceral prose will keep readers glued to a richly textured and briskly paced story."--Booklist "Smith writes shapely prose and sharp dialogue and everywhere displays an acute sense of the moments and pain that can define lives in a small town."--Kirkus (starred review) "Desperation Road is a brilliantly compelling novel dealing with an enormously difficult but fundamental reality of the human condition: how lives lived intensely for years without connection to or even knowledge of each other can suddenly intersect with profound consequences. Michael Farris Smith is a prodigiously talented writer whose new book is not only an exciting read but an important literary event."--Robert Olen Butler, author of A Small Hotel "This book tore at my heart and infected my brain. It reminded me how powerful literature can be, and how often it falls short. Michael Farris Smith is a huge talent."--Richard Grant, author of Dispatches from Pluto "A novel that lends dignity and grace to those too often damned, DESPERATION ROAD is fearless, guttural, and thunderously heartfelt. Quite simply one of our finest writers at work today, Michael Farris Smith has made his own place at the table."--David Joy, author of Where Light Tends to Go "Michael Farris Smith taps into the rhythm of a world I know, and he does it so well, with such ease, that it's almost like I'm living it instead of reading it. His anti-heroes teeter always between the drag-out skids and sweet redemption, and they create a beautiful, true tension that makes this novel burn and thrum in your hands."--Jamie Kornegay, author of Soil "Michael Farris Smith is one of the best writers of his generation, and this very well may be his best work--taut, tense, and impossible to put down."--Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter