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Ann Arbor, MI, 48103
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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Knuckleheads, by Jeff Kass

Dzanc Ebooks

Knuckleheads, by Jeff Kass


Knuckleheads, by Jeff Kass

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For Jeff Kass, the term “knuckleheads” is neither an insult nor a term of endearment, but something in between—a boy who wants to become a man but stumbles along the path to getting there; a man who can’t forget his boyhood and wants to understand why he can’t let it go; a male searching, somehow, with an unquenchable sense of dumb hope, for something he can’t quite get his hands on.

These ten stories are populated by wrestlers, ballplayers, comic book worshipers, bench-pressers, struggling fathers, husbands, mentors and lovers—knuckleheads all, wanting vaguely to be better than they are, unsure how to navigate the tricky world of females, unsure how to navigate themselves but trying, trying to find their way.


Knuckleheads is a high-octane protein shake, equal parts heartbreak and hilarity, a thing of both sweat-reeking adrenalin and nostalgic, time-stopping beauty. Kass achieves what all fiction writers want—he makes us believe and makes us care. Even those of us who stayed as far away from the jocks as possible will want to cheer.” —Steve Amick, author of Nothing But a Smile

“Howlingly funny, engrossing, and culturally observant, these stories unfold effortlessly with ambient ferocity and compassion. By the third paragraph of the first story I knew I’d go anywhere Jeff Kass wanted to take me.” —Lewis Robinson, author of Waterdogs

“Kass’s remarkable stories are honest, observant, utterly believable. Poignant and funny, the stories pull the reader into their vortex, where the light is pleasingly bright and disorienting at the same time.Knuckleheads introduces an important writer, one whose work I didn’t know I was so desperate to read.” —Laura Kasischke, author of The Life Before Her Eyes


Jeff Kass is an award-winning poet and fiction writer who teaches creative writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at Eastern Michigan University. He also directs the Literary Arts Programs at the Neutral Zone, Ann Arbor’s teen center. He was named the 1995–96 California Education Placement Association’s New Teacher of the Year for Northern California secondary schools. In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union honored him as Michigan’s Wendy Joyrich Teacher of the Year.