A literary crime novel about found family and compulsion through the eyes of triathletes, Mason Boyles’ Bark On never fails to surprise with innovative diction, original voices, and a thrilling narrative.
“Every sentence, every paragraph, is dense with inventive language. […] Driven by uncanny energy and imagination, Bark On is a gripping and insightful novel.”
—Kristin Rabe at Foreword Review
"Bark On is one of the strongest debut novels I’ve read in years. There’s nothing weak about it, in fact: from the sentences to the story to the beating heart of it all, this book has an extraordinary musculature. I really enjoyed this novel."
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
"Boyle’s novel is an intense, hectic work with a terrific premise and lifelike, earthy characters that all easily express what drives them. The narrative shows a fervor for language and boundless energy..."
"Bark On is a novel squarely and worthily in the tradition of such high-style masters of Southern vernacular as Barry Hannah and Cormac McCarthy. It immerses you in the coastal-Carolina low country, where the streets are “named for the nearest water threatening to sink them,” where “thunderheads anvil down” and the language is a flood of startling invention that somehow feels both ancient and inevitable. It takes you both inside the world of elite triathlon training and to the extreme edge of that already-extreme sport, exposing the “meticulously random” cycle-of-abuse training methods of a charismatic, celebrated coach and two young, uncelebrated prospects he’s grinding down and grooming. This is an outstanding and even breathtaking debut by Mason Boyles—a novelist who’s here for the long haul."
— Mark Winegardner, author of The Godfather's Return
Mason Boyles grew up in southeastern North Carolina, where he trained and raced as a nationally competitive junior triathlete until the tired caught up to him. He studied writing at UNC Chapel Hill, earned his MFA from UC Irvine, and is pursuing his PhD at FSU. His fiction has appeared in publications such as the Masters Review, the Adirondack Review, and Driftwood Press Magazine, and received nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Bark On is his first published novel. He watches informative videos about hammerhead sharks, and enjoys mountain biking, surfing, and jiu jitsu.