Stop Breakin Down Stories

John McManus




Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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Treading a line between pain and passion, adventure and menace, Stop Breakin Down tells various stories of people driven to the brink of endurance and survival. In the title story, a group of youngsters commit themselves to a drunken car chase around the Baltimore beltway; in another, a student abandons his campus life to submerge himself in the desolate wilderness of the Smoky Mountains. All of McManus's characters are desperate for something beyond their ordinary lives, and every one is unforgettable.


Praise for Stop Breakin Down

"As one of John McManus's searching narrators says, 'It's midnight but yes there is brightness.' Stop Breakin Down is full of sickness and hope, ugliness and love, as its people are only beginning to realize."—Stewart O'Nan, author of A Prayer for the Dying

"Here is rage on the page . . . It's a whole environment, with a new food chain, and yes, I want to know about it."—Los Angeles Times

"In his debut collection of stories, John McManus shows a range in his abilities, both in style and creativity . . . Impressive."—

"Electric . . . Complex and assured . . . Makes you wonder whether [the author] is a naif savant . . . He has a remarkable talent, and it is difficult to imagine how far or to what place he will take it."—Vince Passaro, Madison

"Fierce, vivid, and disturbing, these stories rupture our expectations at every wild turn. Hold on! If you're ready to ride, the fearless language of Stop Breakin Down will leave you shaken and exhilarated."—Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Harts

"Would I be happy to have written these stories myself? I wish I could have written them."—Madison Smartt Bell

"Fast and furious . . . [An] exhilarating read."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Reviews from Goodreads



  • John McManus

  • John McManus is a Tennessee native. His work has appeared in The Oxford American and Ploughshares.