Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx to a family of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His grandmother, Anna, came from the town of Barr, Russia, the site of the first recorded pogrom. His grandfather, Eli, came from Kishinev, Moldova, where, in 1903, he hid in a cellar with his nine siblings as the city suffered the largest, most violent pogrom in history. Anna taught Mitch how to whistle and to brush his teeth with seawater. Eli drank tea through a sugar cube and worried about the possibility of anti-Jewish riots taking place in America.
Mitch has lived in suburban New Jersey, Los Angeles, the coastal redwoods of Humboldt County, California, the Florida panhandle, Key West, and on an eighty acre farm in western Michigan. He now makes his home in Edgewater, Colorado, just west of Denver, with his wife of thirty-six years, Concetta, near his two adult sons.
In each successive place he lived he grew roots, only to tear them out. Mitch feels nostalgic for home when he steps on a subway, when his sunroof is open and the day is hot, dry and smoggy, when he smells the sweet chemical scent of a pulp mill or walks a tree-shaded trail crowded by giant ferns, when he drives past a roadside stand selling boiled peanuts or enters a restaurant whose air is redolent with collard greens, when from a bridge he sees the sparkle of sun on water, and when he walks through a field of corn or soybeans or sees deer crossing a road.
Mitch has worked as a Green Chain Puller in a redwood sawmill (pulling green lumber off a conveyer belt and stacking it), a psychotherapist in a rural mental health clinic, a psychologist in a state mental hospital, and a psychology professor. Much of the material in his novel, Two-Headed Dog, comes from his experience at the state hospital.
Mitch developed an interest in literature and writing in the fourth grade, when he co-edited his elementary school creative writing magazine. He devoted himself to poetry from eighth grade through college. He wrote his first novel, Iron Prayers, in the mid-1980's. It was represented by a highly regarded New York literary agency, but never achieved publication, condemned by editors as "too quirky," "too literary" or "too feminist." Since the late eighties, his short fiction has appeared in over sixty literary magazines (see below). Oxalis nominated him for a Pushcart Prize.
For the past ten years Mitch has been a full-time writer, focusing on novels and short stories. His most recent story acceptances have been "Zane's Splinter" by MEMOIR Journal and "Purple Heart" by The Examined Life, a Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Publication date for both is late Spring 2012.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR TWO-HEADED DOG
Two-Headed Dog is compelling. The further I got in, the faster I found myself reading. And believe me, that doesn't happen to me so often any more. I have trouble finishing most novels these days, published or not, because they all feel so... predictable. This book, to say the least, is not. This book is a ticking clock. A search. A mystery.
The novel begins in Part I as a fairly sedate, carefully observed story of a lonely doctor in a somewhat eccentric mental facility. The book just takes off in Part II, when Hank finds the renegade half-way house in the woods. There the book begins to transform, to become mystical and revelatory. It was at this point that I knew I was hooked, turning the pages as quickly as I could. After that, the story doesn't let up. It explodes. Once Hank finds Tiffany at her father's mansion, in Part III, the novel again metamorphoses, from the intriguing and mystical to flat-out bizarre and surreal. Wow. These scenes are riveting. Each section works on its own terms. I'm fascinated and refreshed by this book.
--Craig Holden, author of The River Sorrow, Four Corners of Night, The Jazz Bird, and other novels, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award in Fiction
Two-Headed Dog is an interesting novel; with so many different twists and turns. I see it as a very original take on the nature of the beast--the Beast being humankind--with all of its capacities for love, lust and bloodlust, sanity and madness; a novel that seems based in reality as it begins and becomes increasingly surrealistic but always raising all these questions of "What's at the core of us humans?," and it's done with humor and folly and great poetic touches. It deserves to be a huge hit.
--Martin Shepard, Publisher, Permanent Press
Mitch Grabois is a wonderfully talented, funny, and appealing writer. His work is deft and engaging, and his characters and plot are richly imagined."
--Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of Prep, The Man of My Dreams and American Wife
Warning: No leash. No muzzle. Two-Headed Dog will bite you with more force than a pit bull, and won't let go until it's done with you.
A Partial List of Short Story Publications by Mitch Grabois
"Zane's Splinter" in Memoir
"Purple Heart" in The Examined Life
"Beamer" in Oxford Magazine
"Shavings" in Word Riot
"These Notes Are Personal" in Starry Night Review (SNR)
"Splinter" in the Bridge
"The World Goes Black" in Onionhead
"The Depth of the Ducks" in Great River Review and Orange Coast Review
"The North Star" in Soundings East
"Polaris" in Coe Review
"Every Day Adds to the List" in the Bone Island Sun
"Team Player" in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature
"Power, Speed & Invincibility" in Bellowing Ark
"The Man" in the Old Red Kimono
"President of the Peanut Fields" in Tabula Rasa Magazine
"No Woman No Cry" in Bellowing Ark
"No Woman No Cry" first paragraph excerpted in The Mississippi Review
"Midnight in Moscow" in Mind in Motion
"Covering Jerome" in the Pinehurst Journal
"A Marriage of Labor and History" in Organica Quarterly
"Starving the Rabbit" in Organica Quarterly
"Confession of an Accessory" in Art Times
"In the Land of the Dead, That is All One Needs" in Half-Tones to Jubilee
"The Philanthropist of Love Lane" in Cayo
"Ripley's the Russian Émigré, and Three Hundred Pounds of Michigan Nurse" in The Pikestaff Forum
"Sleeping on the White Street Pier" in Buffalo Spree Magazine
"My Life As A Man in America" in Viet Nam Generation
For several years Mitch Grabois' columns (fiction and satire) appeared in Solares Hill, Key West's alternative newspaper.
THE ORIGIN OF DIRT E-BOOKS (BOOKS YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO READ)
When Gary Heidt became a literary agent in 2001 and began working in a well-known New York agency, his motivation was to find exciting, innovative, high quality literary novels and get them published. Gary was successful, representing such authors as Charles Yu, winner of the National Book Foundation's Five Under 35 Award and Amy S. King, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award.
However, Gary was not satisfied. He watched as publishers increasingly valued marketability over quality, as sales and marketing departments gained power in the making of publishing decisions, and as the focus became the promotion of genre bestsellers. Meanwhile, highly creative, hard to characterize novels were being overlooked.
Frustrated by the fact that some of his most deserving clients were not achieving publication, Gary decided to form his own publishing company, Dirt e-books. The publication of e-books, he realized, would enable him to make quality literature easily accessible at highly affordable prices to a large (and growing) segment of the reading public. Without the high overhead of corporate publishers, unburdened by their antiquated business plans, free of the domination of the profit motive, Gary's only consideration became quality. Focusing on the literary expression of richness, aliveness, uniqueness, and passion, Dirt e-books is creating a curated line of distinguished neo-modern novels.
Learn more about Dirt e-books: http://dirtebooks.wordpress.com/
Hank Ribinthal is a psychologist at FLOPSIE, a state psychiatric hospital in the Florida panhandle. When his favorite patient, Tiffany, disappears from the hospital grounds, Hank becomes obsessed with finding her. His search brings him into Tiffany's world, and into a wider and weirder reality than he believed possible.
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