Dissonant Dispatches for a Disquiet Nation: On Steve Erickson’s Fiction

Shadowbahn cover, but distorted

Describing Steve Erickson’s fiction is no easy task. He’s a writer who regularly wrestles with big ideas, but he’s equally at home getting under the skin of his characters, embracing their contradictions, their messiness, and their essential humanity. Among his greatest talents–and one that’s boldly on display in his 2017 novel, Shadowbahn–is his ability to explore uncomfortable moments in time, and to tap into what makes certain chapters in recent (and not-so-recent) history compelling, resonant, or discomfiting for so many of us. 

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 97: Joseph Fasano)

Joseph Fasano

 

JOSEPH FASANO is an American novelist, poet, and songwriter. His novels include The Swallows of Lunetto (Maudlin House, 2022) and The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing (Platypus Press, 2020), which was named one of the “20 Best Small Press Books of 2020.”  His books of poetry include The Crossing (2018), Vincent (2015), Inheritance (2014), and Fugue for Other Hands (2013).  His honors include the Cider Press Review Book Award, the Rattle Poetry Prize, seven Pushcart Prize nominations, and a nomination for the Poets Prize.

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When Absent Characters Loom Large

Walking

Sometimes, the most important character in a novel isn’t the one who appears on the greatest number of pages. Sometimes a reader can be most emotionally affected by a character who doesn’t appear on the page at all. Neither of these describes the vast majority of novels; most traditional narratives generally put their most compelling characters front and center. Creating a character whose presence is felt without necessarily making regular appearances is harder to pull off: it’s a kind of balancing act, an endeavor to make sure that a character’s reputation doesn’t outshine their actual appearance. “Show, don’t tell” is the old maxim, to be sure–but if done with enough verve, the telling can be effective in its own way. 

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Chris Kelso

Chris Kelso

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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“Horror By Vibes Only”: Simon Jacobs on Writing “String Follow”

Simon Jacobs

As a tremendous admirer of the uncanny in fiction, I ended up devouring Simon Jacobs‘s new novel String Follow. It’s a story of youthful suburban anomie, punk scenes, and class divides — all told from the perspective of a sinister and inhuman force that’s making its way through a small town. I talked with Jacobs about the process of writing the novel, the role punk plays in his work, and how he’d classify this decidedly unclassifiable book — among other subjects.

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Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s November 2022 Book Preview

November 2022 books

Welcome to the heart of autumn. This November, if you’re looking for a new book to read you’ll be able to choose from a stylistically vast array of literary works. Hoping for an engaging psychological thriller or a great writer’s unorthodox exploration of a great musician? This month, both have gotten our attention — along with incisive literary commentary, a novel told entirely in verse, and a high-profile zine anthology.

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