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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.

Rabbit Punches, by Jason Ockert

rEprint Series Ebooks

Rabbit Punches, by Jason Ockert


Rabbit Punches, by Jason Ockert

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Riotously funny, beautifully written, and charged with emotional intelligence, this well-crafted debut investigates the world from the fringe through characters who stray so far from convention they seem to inhabit another universe. Whether it’s Alston Goldstein ferrying drugs around Florida on his yellow moped, a young man fighting his entire neighborhood to find a suitable husband for his pregnant sister, or a man preparing to arm wrestle Jesus, these thirteen stories hinge on the interplay between middle-class normality and capricious heroes, transporting readers to a tenderly evoked world where the real and the absurd at last make peace.


“Reading Jason Ockert’s debut collection, Rabbit Punches is like getting lost on a road trip: you start off fine, following your map, but still somehow wind up in a place you never saw coming. . . . the 13 stories are quirky and unsettling, full of unexpected turns. . . . Ockert’s characters seem to be longing for someone or something, and while you really pull for them to attain it, they all fall . . . just . . . short.” —Jerome Ludwig, Chicago Reader (Critic’s Choice)

“If you are interested only in conventional, time-proven storytelling, then Rabbit Punches is not for you. But if you like literary surprises, pleasantly weird characters, and plots that stand on their heads and even cartwheel, then check out this short story collection.” —The Bloomsbury Review

“Ockert’s debut features 13 stories, a host of quirky characters and strange plots grounded in a reality that is as disturbing as it is whimsical. In one story, a young boy feeds ticks into a sleeping child’s ear while a man prepares to arm wrestle Jesus. Though Ockert’s voice is still developing, his beautiful and unexpected imagery make him a writer to be watched.” —Publishers Weekly


Jason Ockert has won several national fiction awards and his stories have appeared in many journals including the Oxford AmericanBlack Warrior ReviewIndiana ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review,Mid-American ReviewMcSweeney’sThe Iowa ReviewEcotone, and Witness