Since the early 1980s, Jim Grimsley has received increasing acclaim for his achievements in a variety of dramatic and literary genres. Through his novels, plays, and short stories, Grimsley portrays an unrelenting search for happiness and interrogates themes of corruption, technology, poverty, domestic abuse, sexuality, and faith in the contemporary United States. Through unique characters and a multitude of forms, the award-winning author explores the complexities of southern culture, his own troubled childhood, and larger pieces of the human experience.
In Understanding Jim Grimsley, David Deutsch offers the first book-length study of Grimsley’s diverse work and argues for his vital role in shaping the contemporary queer American literary scene. Deutsch helps readers navigate the intricacies of Grimsley’s influential drama, fiction, and fantasy science fiction—including his most popular novel, Dream Boy—by weaving together discussions of common themes. Placing Grimsley’s plays, novels, and short stories in conversation with one another, Deutsch reveals Grimsley’s development throughout a career in which he has investigated hope and hardship, youth and maturity, experimentation and convention. Deutsch also provides vital historical and cultural contexts for understanding how Grimsley engages, expands, and challenges literary and theatrical traditions.
Deutsch demonstrates a deep, critical understanding of Grimsley’s hard-earned, pragmatic optimism. Intertwining Grimsley’s major fiction and plays and contextualizing these within a broader American landscape, this volume brings his work more completely into the conversation on southern queer literature.