NEWS and BOOKS

American Honor Killings won the 2014 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Award for Non-Fiction!!!

Some recent links for American Honor Killings





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Some Advance Reaction . . .


"David McConnell has written with beautiful clarity and power about a very specific kind of murder. Not only is this book the best sort of true-crime writing, but it is also a stunning exploration of the concept of manhood in America. Refusing to judge or to gloss anything over, McConnell turns is impressive skills as a writer to a topic that all of us think about and few dare to discuss. If I taught non-fiction in a college I would teach this book."
Sebastian Junger


"David McConnell's American Honor Killings is a masterpiece of reportage: engaging, deeply felt and brilliantly imaginative. His subjects are heartland murderers driven by hatred of the Other--gays, nonwhites, Jews. But rather than take their crimes and ideologies at face value, McConnell dives into the killers' inner lives and emerges with shockingly intimate portraits of ordinary Americans gone horribly wrong. At turns heartbreaking and terrifying, Honor Killings has the soul of a detective novel set in the darkest chambers of the human heart. If Truman Capote were alive today, he would die of envy. David McConnell has taken the mantle of great American nonfiction writer."
Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill




“Covering 1999 to 2011, he attempts to demonstrate how the adherence to a rigid definition of masculinity caused these particular murderers to
commit their crimes, and the case of Darrell Madden almost proves the point as McConnell, in a journalistic tour de force made all the more impressive by jailhouse interviews, traces the killer’s trajectory from traumatized farm boy to gay porn pinup, white supremacist, and eventually murderer of Steve Domer.”

“A spooky, addicting account of twisted sexual drives gone violently awry. McConnell’s writing is as profound as Albert Camus’s and as memorably chilling as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The reader of this astonishing text is dared to set aside squeamishness and look right into the heart of American darkness.”
Rick Whitaker, author of The First Time I Met Frank O’Hara



“Homophobia is not accepted as a mitigating circumstance in murder, but there is no doubt that men are still murdered for being gay. From Jon Schmitz (‘The Jenny Jones Killer’) to John Katehis (the teenage hustler who murdered radio personality George Weber), novelist McConnell (co-chair, Lambda Literary Foundation; The Silver Hearted) has compiled a number of these cases and looks into the culture of masculinity for clues to the dynamics behind these killings. Many of the murderers discussed here belonged to a hypermasculine subculture (e.g., skinheads, gangs, fundamentalist religious cults), while others acted alone. But in all the cases, some affront to the killer’s sense of manhood seemed to require a very public act of violence, as if the violence itself reaffirmed his masculinity. Some of the killers might have been secretly bisexual or gender confused, but not so often as to be the common thread in these murders. VERDICT With no clear answers, but some very intriguing questions, these vignettes of masculine pride and rage will appeal to those interested in gender politics and gay studies as well as true crime fans.”


“The author’s case studies reflect an intensive investigation into the economic and cultural backgrounds of a wide variety of extremist cultures, research that involved interviews with law enforcement officials, families of victims and the convicted criminals themselves. A shocking look at the subculture of violent crime, not for the fainthearted.”


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An article on teaching Math I wrote for Prospect Magazine.

Here's an article about Syria I just wrote for Granta online. It's timely in a horrible way and something of a tear-jerker.

I’m wildly excited that the book about murderers I’ve been working on for almost three years will be published by Akashic Press in March, 2013.


It’s going to be called “AMERICAN HONOR KILLINGS /​ desire and rage among men." I write about actual murders in a narrative and literary form and, along the way, arrive at some incredibly unexpected insights into what we too vaguely name, “hate crimes” or flat-out incorrectly call, "gay panic killings.”


I write about an old friend, Joe Brainard, in this anthology, which comes out in June. Also, Joe's own collected works will be coming out soon from The Library of America.

Here's a Letter from Naples on the Granta website. "What I did on my summer vacation" in a manner of speaking.

Here's a short reminiscence about teaching on Riker's Island. It recently came out on the Granta website.

The Silver Hearted is named a finalist for the 2011 Lambda Literary Award!

The Silver Hearted is named a finalist for the 2011 Ferro-Grumley Award!

John Freeman, Editor of Granta, chooses The Silver Hearted as one of the five "Best Debuts" of 2010!



"The Silver Hearted is our Heart of Darkness. It is just as ominous, as violent, as exotic, as darkly colonial. But it is a lot better written than Conrad's book. Whereas Conrad is always resorting to "the unspeakable," McConnell tells us everything in glowing detail and in fresh, eloquent language. Sexy, demonic, elusive, The Silver Hearted is a perfect work of art." - EDMUND WHITE

"David McConnell is the most intriguing, original and exotic writer I've come across in years. The atmosphere he creates in The Silver Hearted is imbued with dread, mystery, lust, sleaze, greed and beauty. A constant potent undertow of violence is at work in the sustained suspense of his narrative. The world he creates is recognizable, but is at the same time a kind of nightmare. He is by turns grotesquely macabre and sublime. I can't recommend this haunting, lovely novel too highly." -PATRICK McGRATH

There's no recipe for a novel as artfully unique as The Silver Hearted, but you might start by sifting Joseph Conrad into Graham Greene, and then adding a pinch of Robert Louis Stevenson (pirates!) and a soupcon of Tom of Finland (sailors!). Most of the other ingredients of this wildly engaging and transporting novel are David McConnell's gorgeous secrets, for who else knew that such a thrilling story of action and adventure could be told in such sublimely elegant and brilliant prose?" - PETER CAMERON

"Mystery? Political thriller? Love story? India? Bali? Madagascar? Those were the questions racing through my mind as I galloped excitedly through The Silver Hearted in a single night, compelled ever onward by the author’s stunning style and inventive language. McConnell’s mastery of narrative plunges us into a magical cosmology of his own making, in a country he never identifies, where political violence is quickly escalating. In the course of it, he concocts a delicious literary stew of ever-widening cultural references, obscure terminology and unsettling sensuality. The novel’s gentle alienation and fearful romanticism remind me of both Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness." - BRUCE BENDERSON

"David McConnell has written a gorgeous adventure story using pan-exoticism as a paintbrush, in the manner of William Henry Hudson—but there is moral adventure as well, in the manner of Joseph Conrad, or dubiousness in the manner of Graham Greene. There is a wondrous young man, in the manner of Herman Melville, but in McConnell’s fable the homosocial does not overwhelm the homosexual, I’m happy to say. What an alluring salmagundi of greed, love, sincerity, and estrangement!—McConnell somehow confects a whole world in each new sentence." - BOB GLUCK


Set against a background of revolution and profiteering in an unnamed port city, this is the story of an ex-wastrel hired to look after a vast sum of money by a cabal of shadowy investors. Literally chests of silver coins, the fortune must be protected at all costs. For assistance, the nervous guardian turns to a sailor, a beautiful naïf, who helps evacuate the money when the trading emporium is overrun by violent mobs. In a hopeless confusion of fondness and morals, the boy watches lives destroyed—destroyed for the sake of money. Unfortunately, a ruthless calculus of profit and loss has mesmerized the money’s guardian. Warfare is closing in. Again, he has to get the fortune out of a city offering only temporary and uneasy shelter.


The Firebrat
PDC, 2003

"Original and unforgettable." - EDMUND WHITE

"I love this book. Abjection has never been so gorgeous." - MATTHEW STADLER

In this introspective work we watch brilliant, outspoken Elliot try to come to terms with his rapidly changing life. It is time for Elliot to grow up, in spite of his all-out effort to have the world "his way". He must find a way to integrate into his life: the disappointment of his love interest's outrage when Elliot writes a short story about him that not only outs him, but paints him as self-absorbed; the slow, agonizing (and irritating) death of his best (and only) friend; the inescapable truth that his literary hero is not all Elliot has made him out to be; and the alarming outcome of his infatuation with flying. Elliot is running out of charm and his denial is being quickly obliterated. All that's left is his spoiled, petulant, witty, intelligent, and highly amusing persona. But will that be enough to save him? Perhaps, perhaps not, but it is definitely enough to keep a reader turning pages far into the night.

Selected Works

Nonfiction
Together with a Reader's Guide
Novels
PDC, 2003

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