Breathing Out the Ghost

Colin St. Claire is on a dangerous mission. His young son is missing, and he is on a self-appointed quest to find the boy, or at least find the man he believes is responsible. Fueled by uppers and a profound lack of sleep, Colin’s road soon becomes an uncontrollable spiral of blurry white lines, of fleeting forms in the night, ghosts of memory as intangible as vapor . . . Assisting him is Robert Heim, a former private investigator who lost his license in the line of duty—and it is a sense of warped duty that still ties him to Colin, though his own family, a loving wife and children, beckons him back home . . . The answers for both men may lie not with the man they believe is the perpetrator, but with a long-suffering farmer’s wife, Beverly “Sis” Pruitt, whose own daughter was claimed by violence, years prior.

In the shape of a noir thriller, Curnutt fashions a gripping tale of the consequences of unchecked grief, of painful truths hidden as though they were dark secrets, and what salvation remains possible for good men who enter the darkness and become the ghosts they are chasing.

Breathing Out the Ghost Book Trailer

Curnutt's Breathing Out the Ghost named Best of the Year

indiana_awardThe Indiana Center for the Book, a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, named Kirk Curnutt’s novel Breathing Out the Ghost as the Fiction of the Year in its 2008 Best Books of Indiana Awards Ceremony in Indianapolis on August 16, 2008.

The Best Books competition began in 2005 to recognize books by Indiana authors and/or about Indiana. Categories include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children/young adult. “It is always a privilege to recognize, promote and honor Indiana authors," said Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian.  “This year's finalists will join the works of great Hoosier authors like Gene Stratton Porter, Meredith Nicholson, James Whitcomb Riley and Kurt Vonnegut, among many others, in their new permanent home within Indiana Authors room.”

As Center for the Book director Drew Griffis noted, Curnutt was the only one of this year’s eight finalists from the various categories who is not an Indiana native. Instead, he set his novel in the state in tribute to his mother’s family, which operated a small farm on the border between Johnson and Shelby counties for decades. As Griffis added, Breathing Out the Ghost even includes a character based on Curnutt’s great-grandmother, Mrs. Ethel Parker of Shelbyville, who at 115 just happens to be the oldest person in the world.

Attending the event with Curnutt were several members of his extended Indiana family, along with River City Publishing managing editor Jim Gilbert, El Rey Burrito Lounge manager David Burch, and fellow Alabama author Marlin Barton.

Download and print a Readers' Guide to Breathing Out the Ghost

See photos from the Breathing Out the Ghost Book Launch


curnutt.kirkKirk Curnutt is the author of several scholarly works, most recently The Cambridge Introduction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Coffee with Hemingway (an entry in Duncan Baird Publishers’ series of imaginary conversations with leading historical figures). He is also the author of a collection of short stories, Baby, Let’s Make a Baby. He is a former finalist for both the Tennessee Book Award/Peter Taylor Prize and the Dana Literary Awards.

Mr. Curnutt is a three-time consecutive winner of the Hackney Literary Award for short stories.

Visit Kirk Curnutt's Website