Brock Clarke


Reviews for The Price of the Haircut

“In trying to illuminate how we discuss race, war, and family dynamics, Clarke shows he is constantly willing to push boundaries. The resulting tales are hilarious, haunting, and original.”

— Booklist–Starred Review

“Clarke’s disquieting, droll work reflects humanity like a dark fun house mirror.”
Publishers Weekly

“This collection of short fiction features writing as straightforward as the perspective is askew…a virtuosic feat.”

—Kirkus Review

“a cockeyed moralist drawn to hot-button American social issues — racial tensions, domestic abuse, military quagmires — the way a tongue is drawn to a canker sore…at his cynical best, Clarke taps deep into the way we sabotage or delude ourselves, simply as a way to go on living”

Boston Globe

“Clarke’s recurring motif is the price we pay in pursuit of authentic human connections, between husbands and wives, parents and children, amid infidelities, fights, and irreconcilable differences. His stories teem with wit, vulnerability, and cringingly bad decisions.”

— Down East

“Laced with humor and written in Clarke’s characteristically understated style, “The Price of The Haircut: Stories” charms readers with its wit, mischief, surprises and unerring insight into the human psyche.”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“absurdist journeys of free association that inevitably conclude several detours from where they started.”

Toronto Star

“Absurd and astonishing”

The Harvard Crimson

“Parts Donald Barthelme, Richard Powers, and George Saunders, Brock Clarke has distinguished himself as a writer fully in control of his ideas.”

Pop Matters

“These stories are all improbable and funny, but they also are ferocious attacks on the commonplace and low culture… Take this book on vacation so everyone can wonder why you are laughing out loud”

Tulsa Book Review


Booklist Reader–Best New Books

Portland Press Herald

KMUW: Marginalia

Southern Living

Channel 6: 207

San Francisco Chronicle

Longfellow Books Bestseller


“The characters that populate these acerbic stories have made a fine art out of self-delusion and self-sabotage—and their various unspoolings are equal parts blistering and riveting. The Price of the Haircut is Brock Clarke at his satiric best.”
—Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

“Brock Clarke is such a funny writer you might make the mistake of thinking these stories are pure, light fun. You’d be wrong about that. The Price of the Haircut kept catching me by surprise with the depth of its insights and the depths Clarke was willing to plumb. There’s a savage soul in each of these wonderfully constructed tales. Brock Clarke wields his wit like a sword.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling

“Brock Clarke’s superb stories—exemplars of tragicomic voice and escalation—move ever forward on the tracks of his characters’ rigorous but self-delusional logic. What a pleasure it is to read an artist who is in such complete control of talent and technique.”
—Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special