RIVER WEATHER: STORIES
"Not since the short stories of Raymond Carver have I read a collection so attuned to the more dangerous currents of masculinity. Bloodied by every attempt to gentle them, MacKenzie’s characters are raw as an open wound. Men and boys alike, they careen through a world where mayhem follows like a loyal dog, always at their heels, always ready to leap."
--Ed Falco, author of Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha: New and Selected Stories
"MacKenzie-as-choreographer renders his characters’ suppressed conflicts and assimilations with such tenderness that his care seems a separate character in the story."
"...pared down to essences, with dialogue that rings true, these stories dig into the rich dirt of this particular time and place...raw and vital..."
-Booklist Review: Editor's Pick
"...primal...elemental. Close always."
-Cleveland Review of Books
"Dark, disturbing...and I absolutely adored it"
-Jason Dennis, Gnome Appreciation Society
"Cameron MacKenzie's River Weather is a triumph of voice and place. Anchored in geographic and emotional circumstance, the writing shimmers with energy. The voice sits next to you, beer or coffee in hand, and tells you stories that remind you of Chekhov and Carver and Johnson but are indelibly unique, passionate and intelligent at once. This is a book you will return to time
--Pablo Medina, author of The Cuban Comedy
"Resonant, spare, intense, and perfectly voiced, this book won’t back down. Cameron MacKenzie’s stories come straight at you, empowered by their perceptive humor and a steel-eyed acknowledgement of human wickedness, human hurt. No matter where you’re
coming from, these tales of how men teach each other certain kinds of manhood—and what that means for all of us—will move you. River Weather sends its readers sliding down a zipline to damage, guilt, and unavoidable revelation."
-Jeanne Larsen, author of What Penelope Chooses
"The stories in River Weather manage to be both sensitive and transgressive, socially conscious and hard-edged. MacKenzie captures with exquisite detail the challenges of being a man in a world that’s gone to hell, coping with irresistible urges and impossible expectations. Like the work of Palahniuk and Ellis, these stories are riveting and bleed tensile masculinity. Crisp and hard-hitting, this book will leave you breathless."
-Clifford Garstang, author or Oliver's Travels
"Cameron MacKenzie is a highly skilled and versatile writer. Four of these stories are examples of flash fiction, running between one and two pages, and they establish their people and their settings with the same solidity that appears in the seven longer pieces here. MacKenzie is extremely good at developing situations of great tension, such that the reader’s breath shortens in expectation of some disaster or violence. Not only action-movie violence, you understand, but also the kind of motionless inward violence that can occur in a living room where some of the people in it are learning, or failing to learn, that it was a mistake for them to be there. The characters come alive, and say and do unforgettably convincing things. Finally, it is noteworthy that MacKenzie knows how to come to a satisfying ending without making an overwrought resolution. River Weather is a superb collection of fine stories."
-Henry Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of The Flying Change
THE BEGINNING OF HIS EXCELLENT AND EVENTFUL CAREER
"...a fully realized novel about the Mexican Revolution and the Francisco "Pancho" Villa, the man who began it all. Cameron MacKenzie's knowledge of Mexican history is extraordinary. So is his ability to weave that history into a fictional tapestry that reads as a novel should...as fast as Pancho Villa's galloping horse. This is a remarkable debut by a remarkable writer."
-Pablo Medina, author of Cubop City Blues
"...originial, poignant, brutal and beautiful."
full review here
"With The Beginning of His Excellent and Eventful Career Cameron MacKenzie has fused historical narrative with first-person memoir and the result is a tremendously compelling (and terrifying) amalgamation— part historical novel, part soliloquy, part sadistic bandit’s bildungsroman. Pancho Villa “speaks” via MacKenzie’s deeply researched fictional memoir. MacKenzie melds myth and legend, memoir and fiction to create an astounding psychological portrait of Villa—one that reminds readers of the tremendous power of the novel as an imaginative and expressive medium...But more than that it’s also part Artaud, part Brett Easton Ellis: theater of cruelty meets American Psycho. MacKenzie gives us the ‘great man’ on his way to becoming legend, warts and all."
-Marion Wrenn, co-editor, The Painted Bride Quarterly
"The Beginning of His Excellent and Eventful Career captures the frenzy and ferocity of a time of great turmoil. Cameron MacKenzie expertly reworks the Mexican Revolution into a fast-paced, first-person narrative of cinematic vividness, with a cast of historical figures—most prominent among them, Francisco (Pancho) Villa—who wielded arms or influence to reshape the land. This debut novel fully engrosses the reader and is a stunning achievement by Cameron MacKenzie."
-Alexander Pepple, Editor, Able Muse
"From a writer’s perspective, Cameron MacKenzie has written a novel that elicits equal parts jealousy and fascination. In this novel, MacKenzie has mastered the art of the sentence, each self-contained and threatening violence. The Beginning of His Excellent and Eventful Career taps into the universality of the human experience and in an ethnically fluid narrative. A truly brilliant work."
-Tim Fitts, author of Hypothermia