Title: Things Grak Hates
Author: Peter J Story
Release Date: November 18th, 2014
Hardcover Price: $27.99
Digital Price: $6.99
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014949488
Distributor: Ingram Content Group Inc.
Grak hates things. Lots of things. And with a peculiar intensity too.
Grak’s contempt is so strong, in fact, that it often leaves his fellow tribesmen bewildered. And when attempting to describe his personality, they find themselves in need of words with greater nuance. “Neurotic” is typically used. “Sociopath” and “narcissist” are also common terms. The most popular descriptor, however, is “pathological.”
Grak, on the other hand, sees his situation in a rather different light. He finds his behavior “necessary” and “selfless,” or even “benevolent” when his mood is just so. Most often, though, he simply attributes his nature to “being human.”
But of all the things Grak despises, his antipathy for olives takes precedence. In his efforts to be rid of this nuisance, he gets his first taste of power and ignites a series of events with troubling consequences. Unwilling to give up his newfound influence, he sets about honing his only true talent: manipulation. But as his grip tightens, Grak’s naively selfish exterior crumbles to reveal a dark and malicious evil …
In his debut work, author Peter J Story brews a robust psychological satire infused with dry humor and a pinch of emotion. Set just prior to recorded history, Things Grak Hates chronicles the life of a bizarre nomad and his descent toward evil. Along the way, this unconventional allegory explores a variety of complex issues. Among them: power, politics, religion, redemption, the dissemination of ideas, and human nature itself.
“An amusing, occasionally sobering look at how evil can spring from unexpected wells.” – Kirkus Reviews
“As I read this book, I couldn’t help but feel that I was looking in the mirror at times. I chuckled and then cringed as I recognized many of my own less-favorable traits portrayed in this caricaturized protagonist. Mr. Story has captured the many flaws inherent in the human race and condensed them into a single character that every reader will love to hate. Yet at the same time, we’ll all cut him some slack. After all, there’s a little bit of Grak in each of us.” – thewritersdrawer.net
“Things Grak Hates by Peter J. Story literally blew me away. I was taken on an emotional journey with a roller coaster ride of betrayal and merciless evil. I was entertained with the ways of a primitive people with an added touch of comedy and wit. I look forward to reading more from Peter J. Story – a great, imaginative story teller!” – ebookreviewgal.com
What readers are saying
“This was a pleasure to read. Feels a bit like a David Foster Wallace-esque take on historical fiction.”
“Mr. Story does an excellent job of developing Grak’s mental pathology and escalating violent behavior as he gains more and more control over the tribe. … I appreciate Mr. Story’s impressively successful portrayal of a cruel despot in the making. … [Mr. Story] has very interesting ideas, easy, intelligent prose, and knows how to build and tell a story. I very much look forward to what he writes next.”
“This was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable look into human nature. I look forward to reading more by Peter J. Story.”
“I’m intrigued, it’s weirdly fascinating … There are a lot of people who would say, ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing, giving us some pre-historic-type tribesman named Grak who uses complex, sophisticated language to express subtle nuances of thought and feeling? And would these people have even heard of olives?’ But I’m not one of those. I think it’s quirky & funny, and don’t really care how ‘believable’ it is. I like stories that completely mess with our expectations … It’s very engaging, and I find myself wanting to know more about Grak and his relationships with those around him.”
“[This] was fantastic. I wish I had some actual criticism to offer, but I really can’t think of any. … I don’t know what your plans are for Grak, but I can see him getting his own cartoon series on Fox.”
Peter J Story lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and their two pugs. He writes code by day and fiction by night, considering himself an author of deliberate, genre-free stories with a soul. While his is not a pen name, he does enjoy chuckling to himself about how well it suits his passion.
Being extremely shy as a youngster, Peter spent his days in two primary hobbies: studying people and reading. He found both pastimes equally fascinating. Among his favorite characters were Encyclopedia Brown, Sebastian the Super Sleuth, and Sherlock Holmes. When in search of new mystery stories, he read Murder on the Orient Express and found the tale intriguing. Unfortunately, he felt that the name “Hercule Poirot” was unseemly, and abandoned any further inquiries in the character’s direction.
Then one day, at the age of ten or so, Peter’s uncle introduced him to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and his world changed forever. He was carried away by the story and tried his hand at mimicking the epic. Unfortunately, due to his existing love for Star Trek: The Next Generation, this took an unholy turn toward a hybrid of the two worlds. But he enjoyed it, nonetheless, and isn’t that what matters most? Of course it is.
As he grew, Peter learned to enjoy a variety of new writers, such as George Orwell, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, Dave Barry, and C.S. Lewis, all of whom had a tremendous impact on his writing style. He planned to go to college (with a vague notion of majoring in something to do with literature), then decided to instead spend seven years as a missionary (mostly in Mexico City). The time paid off, however, and taught him even more about human nature and the art of telling a subtle character-driven story.
Sample interview questions
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I’m told I was always a reader, and I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading. Not that it was a passion when I was tiny, but it was always a part of me. And I think that contributed to my eventual love for books.
Around the age of six or so, I remember coming to a realization. I noticed that I was shyer than the other kids, so I fell back to what I knew: reading. I also found a new hobby in studying people and found both pastimes equally fascinating.
Among my favorite characters at that age were Encyclopedia Brown, Sebastian the Super Sleuth, and Sherlock Holmes. When in search of new mystery stories, I read Murder on the Orient Express and found the tale intriguing. Unfortunately, I felt that the name “Hercule Poirot” was unseemly, and abandoned any further inquiries in the character’s direction.
Then one day, at the age of ten or so, my uncle introduced me to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and my world changed forever. I was carried away by the story and tried my hand at mimicking the epic. Unfortunately, due to an existing love for Star Trek: The Next Generation, this took an unholy turn toward a hybrid of the two worlds. But I enjoyed it, nonetheless, and isn’t that what matters most? Of course it is.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read? Who Inspires you in your writings?
As I grew up, I learned to enjoy a variety of new writers and their characters (even those with unseemly names). I hesitate to pick a favorite author, as I’ve often found it to be highly subjective and fleeting. But among the authors I’ve enjoyed most are George Orwell, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, Dave Barry, and C.S. Lewis. And they’ve all had a tremendous impact on my writing style.
Tell us a little about your latest book.
Things Grak Hates has been a work in progress for the last year. The concept is based on my observations of human nature. We humans have a tendency to play nice with each other, but we also have a real knack for being self-absorbed. And the thing about being self-absorbed is that my smallest desires become far more important than your needs at such times. We all do this at least a little, but my MC, Grak, does it with flare. Of course, he has a bit of tragedy in his past, but I leave the question open as to whether his narcissism existed before the tragedy or was caused by it.
Things Grak Hates is categorized as literary fiction / satire / dark comedy, but it’s so much more than that. It has strong political elements, portrays how ideas are so easily disseminated, shows how silly our best moments can often look in hindsight, and is laced throughout with a commentary on religion. And, of course, every element is portrayed through the eyes of a very selfish Grak.
And here’s a bit of a confession. In order to capture the selfishness of human nature, I had to write myself into Grak. Of course, I took his character off the deep end, far beyond who I am or have been. But I think his path isn’t so far-fetched when we allow ourselves to run wild and unchecked. In some form or another, it’s a potential for us all. I find that sobering and freeing at the same time.
Who is Things Grak Hates for?
Things Grak Hates is for those who value honesty and openness. For those who desire to make a difference in the world. For those who ponder bigger questions than typical everyday issues.
Of course, that being said, this isn’t a book just for the intelligentsia. You don’t have to have a college degree to understand the topics I touch on. You simply have to be able to reason from point A to point B.
Or, in other words, Things Grak Hates is for everyone, but it takes a certain level of care and thoughtfulness to truly appreciate what it offers.