novel

Book Review: In the Desert of Mute Squares by M Kitchell

by
Ben Arzate.

“Language is a trap. To deny the existence of whatever. A melancholy enticement. Like balloons. Language is a fucking disaster. I’m unsure of how to birth the participle. Underneath. No reason to ever go outside any more. The days choke in the darkness & supplicate to endless rest. There’s no question of what will happen in the future because there is no future. Life is a fatal attraction.”

M Kitchell’s In the Desert of Mute Squares is difficult to classify. Its publisher, Inside the Castle, describes it as a “text object,” which seems the most appropriate name for it. The form of the book, from its text placement, to its spacing, to its images, to the reader’s interactions with the book itself are just as essential as the text. As the excerpt above implies, this seems to be an attempt to transcend the frustrating limitations of language.

Even the title seems to be a self-deprecating acknowledgment of literature’s limitations, referring to itself as a wasteland of pages that can’t truly communicate. Slaughtered trees which can never truly convey the impossible. It includes the equally self-deprecating subtitle of or Errors; or, Dreams I Never Had; or, Late Capitalism. (more…)

Get Ready to Dig the Meat Music

Legendary in the underground for more than a decade, the controversial novel is now in print.

Sentient meat covers the world. Veins fill the bloodred sky. People transform into monsters called the Slime. Mind Quakes alter people’s consciousnesses. For That What, your typical gumshoe, the world provides more than enough work—until he’s infected with the slime.

While he struggles to come to terms with his inevitable transformation, he takes on one last job: a murder mystery with ties to the mythical King of the Slime. Finding an unlikely ally in Tonakga, a human-reptile hybrid, That races to solve the case—and to uncover the truth about the King of the Slime, who might hold the cure to his disease.

Blending pulp detective novels, surrealism, and experimental fiction, “Dig the Meat Music” is equal parts burlesque, noir thriller, experimental novel, and social commentary.

Flesh Made World – Full Cover Reveal

26133316_1663554257023493_2123360132_n

Click here to read an excerpt

 

“Daulton Dickey’s ‘Flesh Made World’ is a glorious mindfuck. The eloquence of Dickey’s writing style consumed me like a drug, whisking me through time and space until I didn’t know whether to go mad or fall in love. I did both and more, thanks to his evocative voice and characterization. Entertainment aside, this book has also been a huge inspiration to me as an artist.” —Jessica McHugh

About the book:

Death surrounds Sarah and Daulton. While grieving for their loved ones, they eachimg_4484 must navigate a universe where time isn’t linear, where memories and fantasies collide, merging with reality. The dead haunt them, the world shifts and changes, and time disintegrates. Slipping in and out of the present, they relive moments from their past—and they never know when they’re in the present. As the shifts increasingly dominate their lives, as their grips on reality loosen, Sarah and Daulton struggle to find a way to orient themselves in the present, to escape the infinite loop of pain, suffering, and confusion. If they can’t find a way out, then will they be trapped in a kaleidoscope of torment and grief? An experimental novel about death, the nature of memories, and reality, Flesh Made World thrusts readers into a hallucinogenic universe where space and time constantly unravel.

daultondickeyA self-professed surrealist, Daulton Dickey is a novelist, poet, and content creator currently living in Indiana with his wife and kids. He’s the author of A Peculiar Arrangement of Atoms: StoriesStill Life with Chattering Teeth and People-Shaped Things, and other storiesElegiac Machinations: an experimental novella, and Bastard Virtues, a novelRooster Republic Press will publish his latest novel, Flesh Made World, later this year. Contact him at lostitfunhouse [at] gmail [dot] com

 

On Writing and Bestsellers—and Lobster and Lizard People

by
Daulton Dickey.

writer-605764_960_720Encountering lobster- or lizard-human hybrids occurs frequently when you’re an imagination masquerading as meat. I bumped into one or the other at least once a day; and whenever I do, they say, “Daulton, why do you insist on writing easy-to-read bestsellers?” To which I reply, “I am a professional. I go where the people lead me. If they want action, I give them action. If they want spiders hatching in their ears, I cultivate brown recluses on their behalf. If they want corpses to replace rain and blanket the city in a violent storm, then so be it.”

I wrote my latest soon-to-be blockbuster, Flesh Made World, in the midst of a psychic and nervous breakdown. I admitted myself into the psych ward on suicide watch the day after I completed the novel. While I was writing it—experiencing suicidal depression, coming to terms with the sudden death of my father, and in the grip of a months’ long anxiety attack—people and creatures kept saying, “Yo, D, why don’t you write a non-linear, hard-to-read novel crammed with surreal and disturbing imagery, and ambiguous as hell?” I said, “All right, all right. If that’s what you want. I’m already on it.” (more…)

Flesh Made World—an excerpt from an upcoming novel

by
Daulton Dickey.

art-2324030_960_720It confused her whenever it happened. And it was at least partly confusing because she couldn’t always anticipate when it would happen.

Sometimes a chill curled her spine, sometimes her temples throbbed, sometimes her knees ached—and then sometimes the world blinked off and on without warning or the slightest provocation, at least as far as she could tell. (more…)

Sacred Gardens: A meditation on possession in Don DeLillo’s novella The Body Artist

by
Justin Burnett.

bodyartist_first_edPossession is a strange concept. Like many of the categorizations we use to piece together what roughly might be called our social existence, possession is marked more by its ambiguities than its certainties. What do we possess? We possess our possessions. But what are those? Merely material things that cost money, that stand at one end of a transaction like the period at the end of a sentence? A mere placeholder for exchange, a trophy for participation in capitalist society, a pause after a civic duty duly discharged?

Perhaps it entails something closer to an aura, a relation within a context of other objects, accumulated for aesthetic or practical use. “It was his coffee and his cup. They shared the newspaper but it was actually, unspokenly, hers” (4). The coffee is his only in contrast to the newspaper (which is hers). Is this possession, then, this magical game of comparison, animating the space between the mute objects of our houses with a thin web of relations? An imperceptible fabric strung between the piano in the corner, the hand-painted cerulean lamp table, the sofa patched with soft, gently outlined squares, the white, porcelain coffee cup on the glass surface of the card table, near the edge furthest away from the stack of unopened bills? (more…)

Horrific Loves: Encountering the Other in Philip Fracassi’s Altar

by
Justin Burnett.

cover+-+AltarDiscussing horror as a literary genre proves to be an exceedingly difficult undertaking. A reader familiar with contemporary horror writers will undoubtedly protest against this statement, citing the fact that horror writers are generally more than happy to discuss their stock tricks, ways of thinking, and sources of inspiration. True enough. Contemporary horror writers are a gregarious crew. Yet when it comes to horror itself, our paradoxically macabre attraction to the dark and inhuman realms of terror, everything remains infuriatingly inexplicable. This paradox—our attraction to the repulsive as embodied in horror fiction—is dubbed famously in critical aesthetics ‘the paradox of horror’. I will utilize as a demonstration the appeal of Philip Fracassi’s recently published ‘Lovecraftian’ horror novella, Altar. The book itself is quite typical of its generic milieu, given how Lovecraftian horror is racing to the fore of contemporary horror fiction with the encouragement of affluent writers like Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti (or more recently, Cody Goodfellow and Jeremy Robert Johnson). One advantage of Altar’s utilization as a demonstrative model for horror fiction is that its simplicity and quintessentially Lovecraftian plot vastly complicates many of the theories offered up in supplication to the paradox of horror. It is my intention to challenge several theoretical ‘suggestions’ regarding the paradox by emphasizing the hitherto overlooked experiential “gap” in horror and the corresponding encounter with the Other. (more…)

On Non-Traditional Narrative

A Dialectic in Defense of Experimental Narratives through the Study of Slaughterhouse-Five and Paris Peasant

by
Daulton Dickey.

Some writers adore narrative convention. They stick to the algorithm without deviation. Others deviate only slightly. Other writers still incorporate radical deviation into conventional narrative algorithms. Then there are writers who eschew convention altogether in order to deconstruct or to dismantle narrative entirely. Each of these groups attempt to add their stamp to fiction or literature in one way or the other. And all have strong opinions on narrative. But which group, which tactic, is right?

The answer shouldn’t startle you: none. Declaring narrative can or should or must only4815205632_632ee48a71_b follow one path is like demanding that all athletes stand during the national anthem. It’s a form of authoritarianism predicated on inculcating and reinforcing conformity. Narratives are fluid, organic, the products of human perception of time. Think of it as water: it can assume the shape of liquid, steam, or ice while still containing water at its core. (more…)

The Role of Fantasy in Franz Kafka’s Amerika

by
Daulton Dickey.

amerikaIn Amerika by Franz Kafka, the character Karl Rossman is shipped away to America by his parents following a scandal with a servant girl. From hotel employee to bum to servant, young Karl experiences a panoply of adventures and emotions as he tries to find his way through life. Superficially, it’s a straightforward tale, a Huckleberry Finn-esque Bildungsroman. Since Kafka rarely wrote superficial tales, however, it is possible that Karl’s adventures mean something else–for Karl and for Kafka.

Interestingly, the title “Amerika” comes to us from Max Brod, who changed Kafka’s original title. Kafka’s title Der Verschollene, however, translates to “The Missing Person” or “The Man Who Disappeared.” Why would he give the novel a title that expresses the point of view of Karl’s family while the narration itself follows Karl, giving only passing mention to his family? (more…)