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Biographies & Memoirs - Memoirs

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Soft-Boiled: An Investigation of Masculinity and The Writer's Life

ISBN: 9780982783870
Binding: Paperback
Author: Stephen J. West
Pages: 196
Trim: 5 x 8 inches
Published: 07/05/2022

Soft-Boiled follows Stephen J. West as he shadows a private investigator by the name of Frank Streets. What starts out as a last-ditch effort to write West's first book—while juggling responsibilities as a husband and new father—becomes a critical reflection on art-making, storytelling, and masculinity in America. Blending memoir, reportage, criticism, and detective thriller into one capacious yet focused narrative, Soft-Boiled is a lyrical and aching self-reflexive portrait of an artist that asks the questions so many men are afraid to ask.


Stephen J. West is a writer, teacher, and parent who previously lived in West Virginia.


"Soft-Boiled is a magical genre remix that challenges received ideas of American Manhood and the Lone Artist, while simultaneously delivering a thrilling and comedic detective noir and moving family drama." - Torrey Peters

"In tackling a subject as ever-present and fraught as masculinity, it's easy for writers to retreat to the two poles of the conversation: romance or ridicule. All the more remarkable, then, that Stephen J. West danced around that trap, with prose that is wry and funny and skeptical, but also deeply heartfelt and true. Soft-Boiled leaves no stone unturned in its investigation of this unified myth of American manhood, and West is a smart, fun, kind-hearted investigator, willing—like Frank Streets, the enigma at the book's center—to let us ride along and see what happens next." - Lucas Mann

"Hilarious and heartfelt, unflinching and meticulous. Soft-Boiled will make you rethink what it means to be a man and to be an artist in the ever-changing landscape of America." - Jeremy B. Jones

"This beguiling hybrid of a book had me entranced from start to finish, and left me pondering not just the stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be a man in America, but the art of storytelling itself." - Brian Greeks