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In the Course of Human Events

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

April 14, 2015 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.7, 240 Pages | ISBN 9781593766085

"Harvkey’s gripping story is both an intimate reflection on one man’s need to escape the familiar and a sharp critique of radical culture in the Midwest." —Nylon Guys


Clyde Twitty could use a break, a helping hand. He’s a young man lost – in his finances, in his family – and stuck deep within the fast-settling muck of a dwindling rural Missouri town that has, in every way, given up hope. The hand that reaches down, lifts him up, and leads him forward belongs to a fiercely charismatic patriarch named Jay Smalls, a man who exerts a kind of gravitational force — and breeds fierce purpose in those who find themselves caught in it. Unrattled by the increasingly sinister racial undertones of Jay and his posse, and desperate to look forward and not down, for once in his life, Clyde hardly stumbles when the path he’s being ushered down takes a dark and irrevocable turn.

In this thrilling debut novel – equal parts satire and morality play – Harvkey shines a sharp light on the dark and radical underbelly of the floundering American Midwest. As he plunges us into the violent spiral of a desperate youth, he explores with unflinching acuity the ugly nature of hate, the untempered force of personality, and the sometimes horrific power of having someone believe in you.

MIKE HARVKEY was born and raised in rural Missouri. He is the author of the novel, In the Course of Human Events; a graduate fellow of Columbia University’s Creative Writing MFA Program; a winner of Zoetrope All-Story Magazine‘s short fiction contest; and a black belt in Kyokushin karate. His short stories have been published in Mississippi Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Zoetrope All-Story Magazine, and other publications. He has been a contributing writer to The Believer, Nylon, Nylon Guys, Trunk, Backstage, Publishers Weekly, The L, and other magazines.


“This novel examines the feelings of hatred that can be born out of poverty in a raw, unforgiving light.” —Los Angeles Magazine

“Harvkey’s gripping story is both an intimate reflection on one man’s need to escape the familiar and a sharp critique of radical culture in the Midwest.” —Nylon Guys

“With this stunning debut, a major new talent bursts upon the world of American Letters. In the Course of Human Events is as brave as it is brilliant, as unsettling as it is important, and unlike anything else I’ve read. Mike Harvkey writes scenes of uncommon imagination, characters that leap to life at a single stroke. They will grab you in a bear hug, or by the throat (and sometimes both), and carry you along through a story every bit as gripping. A fearless exploration of an uncomfortable corner of the human heart — and an America little examined and even less understood — this is an important novel. Add to that the fact that it’s also so damn funny and here comes one hell of a book.” —Josh Weil, author of The New Valley

In the Course of Human Events is a dark, and yet compassionate gaze into the frustrated, violent, and broken heart of America. Mike Harvkey has written a gripping, bold and daring novel unlike any I’ve had the pleasure of reading before.” —Dinaw Mengestu, MacArthur Genius Fellow and author of How to Read the Air and The Wonderful Things that Heaven Bears

In the Course of Human Events is at once a harrowing descent into the white supremacist underground and a timely portrait of 21st-century American malaise. Mike Harvkey well understands his bleak Midwestern landscape, beaten down by recession, and casts an unflinching eye upon the casual violence and hate-consumed paranoia of the subculture such a hopeless world can nurture.” —Mark Binelli, author of Detroit City Is the Place to Be

In the Course of Human Events is a nightmare revelation: a mid-American apocalypse where your worst fears of coming apart are merely the protagonist’s coming-of-age. With prose that kicks harder than a sensei, and a villain that would haunt Tyler Durden’s dreams, Mike Harvkey has established himself as a major voice in contemporary fiction. A novel so good it’s got to be bad for you.” —Aaron Gwyn, author of Wynne’s War and Dog on the Cross

“Harvkey skillfully shows how Clyde’s conscience gives way to his desire for meaningful work and connections [and] pushes this eerie, engrossing satire to its bloody conclusion. It’s a provocative, unflinching look at the hate that poverty has fomented in places like Strasburg — ‘the town the American Dream forgot.'” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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