The Language of Elk

“This debut collection of stories,The Language of Elk, assembles its cast from the mountain towns and low life taverns and high desert ranches of Oregon – a state that in isolated pockets remains a still-unfinished place, the frontier.

Here nature exists as a source of wonder and a force to be conquered. Here myths haunt the moss-laden woods and Benjamin Percy shines his light on them, revealing bearded ladies and Bigfoot and marijuana colonies and elk hunting ranches and haunted Indian burial sites, the underside of contemporary western America.

With a salty mystical voice that partners the landscape and a vision as wild as his characters, Percy explores a world of surprising violence and gentleness, hilarity and heartbreak, loveliness and ugliness, and in doing so emerges as a beautifully raw voice of the West.”
–Carnegie Mellon University Press


Friends of literature, please welcome the new master of the American grotesque, Benjamin Percy. These eight stories in The Language of Elk are a pitch-perfect circus of original insanity, a modern-day Oregon wasteland over which anvils fly and in which bearded ladies can mend the broken soul and through which walks Bigfoot and those whose lives he has ruined in his years avoiding capture.  Mr. Percy’s talent is even more monstrous than Bigfoot himself–epic, beautiful, shocking, funny, brutal, brilliant–and when this book has torn out your heart and fed it to the crows, don’t be surprised if you feel grateful and want to go through that all over again.

–Mike Magnuson, author of Lummox: The Evolution of a Man, The Fire Gospels and The Right Man for the Job

In The Language of Elk, men and creatures stagger in a no man’s land between wildness and domesticity, jealous, cracked, burning to be acknowledged.  Like the flaming projectiles his protagonists often launch into the sky, these stories crackle with energy and violence and a furious beauty.  Benjamin Percy is a force.
–Anthony Doerr, Author of The Shell Collector and About Grace

The Language of Elk, made of equal parts pain, comedy and sweetness, is a book that will leave you gasping and wanting more. Each of the stories contained herein is a sharply-written, laugh-out-loud barn-burner, and Benjamin Percy is the best new writer to step into the spotlight in years.
–Brady Udall, author of The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint and Letting Loose the Hounds


To read the Compulsive Reader review of The Language of Elk click here.

To read the Sun Oasis review of The Language of Elk click here.

The author is gratefully represented by Katherine Fausset of Curtis Brown Ltd.

NOTE: The Language of Elk is currently out of print.