“Rich, evocative and textured…Impressive and ambitious work from a talent to watch closely.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Gann has a Shakespearean facility with the mother tongue, and his Haycraft Keebler is an under-medicated, modern-day Falstaff who wants to save the world (or at least his own hometown). This book is elegant, bawdy, brilliant, a cockeyed elegy for the American Dream.–Brad Watson, The Heaven of Mercury
“I think Our Napoleon in Rags is wonderful. It’s got everything: uncorked lyricism, the corrupting influence of commodity fetishism, dreams, mom, love, death, gold paint, police brutality, porn, pills, a drug addict who redeems himself through writing. Not since Borges’ Pierre Menard has anyone rewritten Cervantes’ masterwork as beautifully as Kirby Gann.”
“Our Napoleon in Rags is a terrific book. It reminds one of A Confederacy of Dunces, but it’s grittier, darker, more relative to our reality. Kirby Gann has given us an evocative, lovely, and at times frightening account of the dissolution of a troubled man, and of the city he believes he’s trying to save.”–Brock Clarke, The Ordinary White Boy
Can one man change the world? Haycraft Keebler, bipolar son of a famous politician, thinks he can. And he will do anything, legal or otherwise, to inspire the people of Montreux, a decaying city in the heartland of America, to rise up against the powers that be and restore the city to its former glory.
Haycraft’s home away from home is the Don Quixote, a bar in the heart of the heart of the city, and the regulars, long used to Haycraft’s schemes, keep watch over their bipolar “Napoleon in Rags.” However, the bonds that hold this “family” together are forever changed when Haycraft falls in love with a fifteen-year old male hustler. Weaving the contemporary hot button issues of mental illness, homophobia, racism and police brutality through a novel that is Victorian in its graceful storytelling, Kirby Gann has created not only an extraordinary read, but a biting commentary on contemporary America.
Kirby Gann’s first novel, The Barbarian Parade, was called “a striking debut for a novelist of daring creativity and passion” by Edmund White. His short fiction has appeared in Witness, The Crescent Review, American Writing, The Louisville Review, The Southeast Review, and The Southern Indiana Review. He is Managing Editor at Sarabande Books, and teaches in the MFA Program at Spalding University.