Richard Wirick

When: Mon., June 14, 7:30 p.m. 2010

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Richard Wirick's Kicking In is a drug-and-gore threaded collection in which the author palpably strains for gritty, and it doesn't always work—one story, in which the aforementioned Amish kid trips and falls nose-first into a pile of meth, is too carelessly goofy in its improbability. But that same casual disregard for the possible works just fine in another story, "Peaceable Kingdom": A group of Americans spend an afternoon on a beach, recklessly shattering conch shells against a rock face until it turns into a "wall of gore." Wirick is far better at describing physical states than mental ones. His characters blur together into a kind of dispassionate collective narrator, but his descriptions of the mess the human body makes, in pain and in death, are striking. ALISON HALLETT

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