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Vampire Conditions

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Ten stories. Three cycles. Fists and possums and gunfighters and penises and hookers and short buses and dead babies and fireworks.

The stories in this collection originally appeared in: HOBART, FICTION INTERNATIONAL, KITTY SNACKS, TEXAS OBSERVER, NEW BORDER and THE PURITAN.
Paperback, 115 pages
Published September 2012 by Holler Presents
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11th out of 25 books — 12 voters
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Best Southern Literature
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Community Reviews

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May 18, 2014 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brian by: Jacob

Reading this collection of stories in mostly a single sitting is the best worst plan. Akin to meeting the author in a border town bar, accepting his proffered tankard-sized tequila shots and then cajoled into a knife fight with Pancho Villa. Things are going to be very fucking far from OK. And that's OK.

Don't be fooled by the Freytag's Pyramid Carr sports as his author profile photo - he uses that triangle as a sharp instrument to pierce the construct of short fiction and then create something v
January 2013
When the baby came dead they held her for a few hours on the kitchen floor with their legs tangled in the purged amniotic fluid, and Tabitha cried with her head thrown back against the refrigerator door, but Barrow didn't say a thing.
(from "The Paint from Her Hands," p.11)

Well, Mr. Carr, you got my attention.

Fans of Donald Ray Pollock and Frank Bill need to perk up, 'cuz there's another out there just like em. Vampire Conditions has dead babies and replicas of living ones, ex-gunslin
Richard Thomas

In order for a collection of short stories to work, the reader must be pulled into the narratives and settings as quickly and thoroughly as possible. In Vampire Conditions, a slim volume of grotesque stories by Brian Allen Carr, the immersion and compassion is palpable from each opening sentence. We are past the tipping point, along for the ride, and the destinations are always unexpected. These are cautionary tales bound with bruised
Michael Seidlinger
We all leave trails leading back to what we might not want to remember, what we need to forget. Vampire Conditions is a record of some of those trails, the ones lived that will never leave you. Each sentence grips onto the one that follows, hoping to occupy your mind for more than the moment it took to read it.

These are stories you hold onto like an important lesson because, in a way, it's exactly what Carr is doing: He's teaching you how to see, and I mean really see.

Brian Allen Carr came highly recommended to me from several authors and friends whose literary judgments I trust. They were right on the money!

Vampire Conditions is a very powerful short story collection. The author sets the tone with "The Paint From Her Hands", in which he depicts the state of mind of a man who suffers the loss of his baby. The strange, almost dream-like narrative was so mesmerizing, I never wanted it to end.

"The First Henley" and "Everything Will Fall its Way" are, in my opi
Read this with the lights on because you probably can't read in the dark.
D.L. Williams
I don't always know (and I don't always care) what Brian Allen Carr is writing about, I just like being carried away by the force of his words. He has a unique voice that I ride like a huge wave, knowing it will come crashing down at some point, but still being okay with that, and if his writing wasn't enough, I always love his book covers.
I'm really thankful that these stories had nothing to do with vampires. From the title, I was concerned...and I'm sick of vampires. I loved these stories, though. Carr definitely has intensity, though he's also got a light touch when the story calls for it. I was never quite sure what was coming, but I found the stories moving, enigmatic, and interesting. I have to say, this is my second experience with Carr's work and I'm really digging it.
Matthew Savoca
this book is fucking fantastic.
i opened it up meaning to read a little of it, just for now, but read it all the way through. i kept putting the book down for a second in between stories and saying "god damn" to myself because the endings were absolutely perfect.
i'm really damn impressed with brian allen carr, but i should have expected this from holler presents. pure gold.
Tyler Crumrine
There are some seriously fantastic stories coming out of Holler Presents. Brian Allen Carr has gift for the poignant and the strange. He writes from a variety of voices, but they all feel genuine in their own way. Highly recommended, and I'm very excited to see what comes out of Holler next.
This was so entertaining. The authors' strength is that he is a brilliant storyteller. I was enthralled from start to finish. "A Brief OK" was my favorite of all.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cooper Renner
Other reviewers have noted that Carr's work is a kind of Southern (or Texan) gothic, and the comparison is apt, though there is also a great deal of humor in these stories and the kind of sly observation one finds in the stories of Daryl Scroggins. Carr's scenes and narrators are sharp, vibrant, individual. If mainstream American publishing cared more about quality than connections, this book would have been issued by a large press with a big budget.
One of the hardest things to do in fiction is make the reader forget that she's reading a story. "Lucy Standing Naked" had my scalp tingling with delicious anticipation as the narrative unfolded. I don't want to say more than that for fear of spoiling its multiple surprises. If you're old enough to remember after-school specials this is the one you've been waiting for. Short and far from sweet, this collection comes highly recommended.
Ryan Bradford
Plowed through this story collection. Carr has such an original voice that it's easy to forgive the lack of cohesion. Not that I think every collection of short stories needs a theme, it's just without one, they tend to feel like literary journals. I guess you could consider this collection geographically linked together by Texas, which has such a strong presence that it works as an anchor point.
My nephew gave me this book for my birthday. I thought it was going to be some youngsters thing but it ended up being some of the best stories I've ever read in my almost 70 years. There is so much magic in this book, and so much truth. I thought things like this disappeared a long time ago. This book left me feeling like there was still something worth sticking around for.
Grimy. Before I read ”Everything Will Fall Its Way” this collection didn't stand out, except for the idea of vampire conditions being a place that you never want to see exposed to light.

That story was very good.
Drew Buxton
There's a killer on the loose in the Valley and his name is Brian Allen Carr!!
Brian Allen Carr reads like the unholy child of Cormac McCarthy and Charles Bukowski. Darkly amusing, brutally honest, unflinchingly stark, the six stories in Vampire Conditions left me emotionally stunned. Carr explores brief moments of loss, hope and despair in the lives of people on the margins: a couple’s baby is stillborn and a flea market memento takes its place; a bullied Asian youth finds himself auditioning for George Strait’s brother Buddy; a Valley man follows his friend to Oklahoma, ...more
Robb Todd
Comparing a writer to another writer is rarely accurate or fair, but as a means of communicating what the style is like to someone who might not otherwise know, well, here: the writing reminded me of the book's publisher, author Scott McClanahan, and maybe Donald Ray Pollock and maybe bits of a couple other people, and also like nobody else, but set in Texas near the border instead of West Virginia or Ohio.

Not that geography matters much with the stories. They are still stories and locale isn't
A world where there is the violence and desperation we know, but also one all its own.

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Brian Allen Carr lives on the Texas/Mexico border.
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