Skip to Main Content

The Devil's Tub

Collected Stories

Edward Hoagland, best known for his essays, is also an extraordinary writer as fiction, as readers of his stories “The Final Fate of Alligators” and “Kwan's Coney Island” can attest. First published in periodicals such as The Paris Review, Esquire, The New Yorker, The American Review, and Saul Bellow's famous literary magazine, The Nobel Savage, Hoagland's stories amazed readers with their precise language and finely etched characters. He has been widely anthologized, including in Best American Short Stories. Assembled here are stories new and old, spanning from 1960 to today.

Meet the death-defying motorcycle trick riders in the carnival's Devil's Tub, a man who keeps an alligator in his bathtub, a Chinese launder in Coney Island in search of love, a frontiersman who saves himself from a mauling grizzly bear by hiding in a beaver dam, three men from a circus looking for trouble at a rodeo, a washed out boxer trying to to hang onto his career, and dozens of others rich characters. From the cramped and gritty streets of New York City to the wide open spaces of the Old West, Hoagland's characters pine, ache, create, observe, love, learn, and live in such precisely rendered stories that we are transported into each of their peculiar worlds.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction—novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Praise for Children Are Diamonds:

“The ferocious lucidity of Hoagland’s language and the depth of his characters as they navigate political complexity, hellish violence, endless fear, persistent desire, and desperate calculations of survival make for a shattering tale of epic suffering, bitter irony, and miraculous flashes of beauty.”—Booklist

“A gritty cinematic story wrapped in brilliant African detail, mesmerizing, from the unforgettable opening scene, on to the end. Quite simply, a masterpiece.”—Garrison Keillor

“Edward Hoagland has long been both a resolute explorer and a preternaturally versatile writer. He’s written more nonfiction than fiction, but what he brings to this terrifying novel—I mean, in addition to his humane vision and exquisite craft—is everything he has learned (as Graham Greene learned) from the world. The range and depth of Hoagland’s travel books, and of his many remarkable essays, are on display in this novel set in Africa, where killing and sexual brutality are juxtaposed with humanitarian care. Hoagland’s aid workers are damaged souls, but they haven’t quit. In a world of unbearable inhumanity, what comes across in this intrepid novel is the power of doing the right thing—even, or especially, in a moral outback.”—John Irving

“Children Are Diamonds is the latest addition to a remarkable collection of books about the war in southern Sudan that evokes the time and place with haunting imagery. Hoagland aptly captures the lives of Western do-gooders and opportunists lured by the adrenaline rush of Africa, evoking the closeness, and the randomness, of death in a war zone.”—New York Times

Praise for Children Are Diamonds:

“The ferocious lucidity of Hoagland’s language and the depth of his characters as they navigate political complexity, hellish violence, endless fear, persistent desire, and desperate calculations of survival make for a shattering tale of epic suffering, bitter irony, and miraculous flashes of beauty.”—Booklist

“A gritty cinematic story wrapped in brilliant African detail, mesmerizing, from the unforgettable opening scene, on to the end. Quite simply, a masterpiece.”—Garrison Keillor

“Edward Hoagland has long been both a resolute explorer and a preternaturally versatile writer. He’s written more nonfiction than fiction, but what he brings to this terrifying novel—I mean, in addition to his humane vision and exquisite craft—is everything he has learned (as Graham Greene learned) from the world. The range and depth of Hoagland’s travel books, and of his many remarkable essays, are on display in this novel set in Africa, where killing and sexual brutality are juxtaposed with humanitarian care. Hoagland’s aid workers are damaged souls, but they haven’t quit. In a world of unbearable inhumanity, what comes across in this intrepid novel is the power of doing the right thing—even, or especially, in a moral outback.”—John Irving

“Children Are Diamonds is the latest addition to a remarkable collection of books about the war in southern Sudan that evokes the time and place with haunting imagery. Hoagland aptly captures the lives of Western do-gooders and opportunists lured by the adrenaline rush of Africa, evoking the closeness, and the randomness, of death in a war zone.”—New York Times

More books from this author: Edward Hoagland