Peter Grandbois’ essay collection, Kissing the Lobster, uses the ancient samurai code of Bushido (Justice, Courage, Mercy, Courtesy, Honesty, Honor, Loyalty, and Character), then throws in a few of his own, as a lens through which to interrogate authenticity in a culture obsessed with surface and youth. The book is an ode to failure, a rallying cry for the inevitability of pain and the acceptance of loss. It is a reminder that in hiding from pain, in shying away from failure, we forget what is most essential in ourselves.
The essays in Peter Grandbois’s Kissing the Lobster invite us to consider pain, suffering, failure and the role they play in truly knowing the self. Grandbois has the courage to go where lesser writers won’t. As relentless as the competitive fencer he is, he thrusts into the dark corners of the ego and the soul, until finally, like all good essayists, he strikes the light, and we, his willing companions stand exposed and grateful in its illumination. Always on the attack, these essays are smart and necessary.
Lee Martin, author of The Mutual UFO Network
Kissing the Lobster is a compelling meditation on pain and passion, courage and character, and the inescapable creative urge. Peter Grandbois writes with searing, unflinching honesty. His crisp prose lunges, then drills you directly in the chest.
Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire
Self-awareness may be somewhat of a curse for the writer: “Sometimes I fear my entire life is made up of worrying about myself and pretending I’m not.” Grandbois writes. This self-awareness might be unpleasant for him but for the reader, it is pure joy. To see Grandbois as he en gardes and touchés as a middle aged man, cracking his own body against his dream of his youth, is to feel what it’s like to be a self-aware human—suffering, full of doubt, pointed, sharp, and funny as a sword.
Nicole Walker, author of Sustainability: A Love Story
Peter Grandbois is the author of eight previous books, the most recent of which is This House That (Brighthorse Books, 2017). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over one hundred journals. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio. You can find him at www.petergrandbois.com.