About The Book
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Greg Hrbek’s Destroy All Monsters, and Other Stories is a collection that explores what it means to be human—and inhuman. These ten stories have won an array of honors—and whether set in the historical past or in a speculative future, each is wildly imaginative and shockingly real. In “Sagittarius,” selected for The Best American Short Stories, a mother and father search a dark forest for their missing newborn, who is either a child with profound birth defects or a miraculous creature. In “False Positive,” a ghostly girl visits her biological father ten years after being aborted in utero. In “Bereavement,” a marriage is falling apart following a child’s accidental death, but a combination of myth and technology provides hope for a second life. Fantastic, horrific, painfully familiar, these stories are the work of a consummate storyteller.
"Mr. Hrbek's writing is often lovely and sparse—almost poetic."—Michael Adelberg, New York Journal of Books
"Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Hrbek's first collection subtly and masterfully merges the everyday and the mythic, poetic, futuristic, and seemingly impossible."—Jonathan Fullmer, Booklist
"Hrbek . . . is a master at voices. He brings the reader into the universe of his troubled characters, whose imagined "monsters" and elaborate constructions of reality may not be so different from one's own. He is a writer to watch."—Sue Russell, Library Journal
“Each story in this spellbinding collection hovers on the threshold of the impossible, the place where our most basic fears and desires as mothers and fathers and children get turned into something so new and startling the sight of it can change you forever. These are dark stories, but at the heart of their darkness there is perfect, irresistible radiance.” —Kathryn Davis, author of The Thin Place
“These are unsettling but strangely moving stories written under the sign of Terror—about freaks of nature (centaurs, mermaids), about the terror of war (Hiroshima, a dystopian disaster of the future), about subteen suicides, about the invasion of Saipan, about an eleven-year-old criminal on death row. . . . Hrbek is a gifted narrator who moves with stealth and swiftness toward his violent fictional goals. He belongs in the same league as Judy Budnitz and Gary Shteyngart—young visionaries who have seen the future and know its hell.”—Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story