“Reed and Hi John were jogging at night, and the sky was full of distracting white stars, and maybe that’s why Reed didn’t see the Great Dane from two houses down, the Hoffman’s house, come tearing into the street, toenails clicking on the pavement.” – an excerpt from “Dogfight.”
Micheal Knight, although he is not widely known, is one of my most admired writers. I first learned about him when I was taking a Fiction Writing class over a year ago. My Fiction professor arranged for him to do a reading at our school and she assigned us two of his works, “Gerald’s Monkey” and “Smash and Grab.” I was not especially impressed by either of them, but I had to buy the book that contained the two, Dogfight, for class. Unfortunately, I didn’t crack open the book until after our little meeting in class where he, Knight, was open to questioning. I will forever V8-slap my head for that one because now, after reading Dogfight in it’s entirety, I have fallen head over heels for his work and have so many burning questions on my tongue.
Knight’s sentences mirror my own: long, winding and full of descriptors that really only give the reader an inkling for what the scenery is like; the rest is left to the imagination. For instance, in the excerpt above, what does Hoffman’s house look like? Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but most writers would have thrown at least a paragraph at that minuscule piece of information.
Knight’s work centers on human emotion, thoughts and memories. Often the story is broken up with recollections, and trains of thought can be broken up with feelings. This really connects the reader to the character; it feels more like the reader is inside the head of the character, even when being told in third person as the excerpt above is.
Knight teaches fiction at the University of Tennessee, so I may one day be able to put out the fire on my tongue (fingers crossed) as I plan to attend the writing graduate program there (again, fingers crossed). In the meantime, I have thoroughly enjoyed his works in Dogfight and both of his novels Diving Rod and The Typist.