Periel Aschenbrand is the guest. She is the author of two memoirs, the latest of which is called On My Knees. It is available now for pre-order and will be published by Harper Perennial on June 18, 2013.
Jonathan Ames raves
"Ribald, outrageous, gutter-mouthed, hilarious—a startling new voice in American letters. Watch out Portnoy, watch out Caulfield, watch out Bukowski, watch out E. L. James. Hell, everybody, real or imagined, just watch out! Because here comes Periel Aschenbrand!”
And The New York Times calls her
"Unsavorily compelling. . .in the manner of a female Howard Stern.”
Monologue topics: insomnia, nightmares, pool bars, sushi, low tide, sleep apnea, Buddhism, pity.
Giancarlo DiTrapano is the guest. He's the editor of NY Tyrant magazine and the publisher of Tyrant Books, an independent press based in New York City.
His authors include Brian Evensen, Blake Butler, Eugene Marten, and Michael Kimball. And later this year, in June, he'll be publishing Marie Calloway's debut novel, what purpose did i serve in your life.
Sheila Heti says
"I have never read a book like this before. It’s painful, shocking and brilliantly written, with a great sensitivity to which details should be revealed and which should stay concealed. It’s formally complex, completely unforgettable, highly contemporary and plainly great. A terrifying proposal: could this be the Great American Novel for the twilight of “Great” America?"
Monologue topics: nudity, Lena Dunham, streaking, sports, IMAX.
Marilynne Robinson raves
"With unflinching wit, Amber Dermont examines the harsh vicissitudes of life, and though the worlds she creates are often unsettling places, her sense of detail always makes for a pleasurable read. There is a vibrant lucidity to her language, a daring music."
And Kirkus says
"Dermont’s short story collection, which follows her debut novel (The Starboard Sea, 2012), demonstrates the author’s versatility and sardonic humor…[She] delivers strong prose and intriguing characters who frequently defy stereotypical ideals…the overall effect is a tight collection that takes the reader in unexpected, often disconcerting, directions. Full of irony and contradictions, this compilation of contemporary short stories is a worthwhile effort."
Monologue topics: walking, Los Angeles, headphones, David Lynch, suffocating rubber clown suit, fire, Ashley Greene.
Grace Krilanovich says
"There’s what people say, and then there’s what they do. The phrase will infect your consciousness, contorting and twisting itself around to take on more and more dimensions. What does it mean to act on our desires when one person’s wish fulfillment means another’s nightmare? What does it mean to be free, or to escape? At its core, This is What We Do gives us two people left with nothing, cutting close to the uncoolness of loving without fear."
And Gina Frangello says
"Hansen's debut novel covers even wilder, trickier ground than his memoir, American Junkie. Anti-hero James Nethery seems an ordinary, lonely man drinking Coke at the bar, until he meets "Lily," a Ukrainian prostitute, and what began as a quiet, atmospheric meditation on down-and-out expats in Paris explodes into a nonstop, genre-blending noir-crime-vigilante-political-sexy-nihilistic-almost surreal thrill ride, infused in equal measures with brutality and beauty."
Monologue topics: The Nervous Breakdown, TNB 5.0, sleeping at the mall, kid birthday parties, magicians, the end of tweets?
Ayana Mathis is today's guest. Her debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, was an official selection of Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and has since gone on to become a New York Times bestseller. It is available now from Knopf.
Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it
“Cutting, emotional…pure heartbreak…though Mathis has inherited some of Toni Morrison’s poetic intonation, her own prose is appealingly earthbound and plainspoken, and the book’s structure is ingenious…an excellent debut.”
And Marilynne Robinson raves
"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in its purity and rigor. The characters are full of life, mingled thing that it is, and dignified by the writer’s judicious tenderness towards them. This first novel is a work of rare maturity."
Monologue topics: mail, dinner invitations, IRL.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune calls it
“Profound . . . with more to say on the human condition than most full books. . . . A remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of imagination.”
And HTML Giant says
“This is transformative prose at its best. . . . If you want an actual contemporary wordsmith who does not just tinker but thrives in the micro-worlds of Calvino and Borges, Walser and Perec, read Understories.”
Monologue topics: AWP, silent judgment, my thing, your thing, feeling peripheral.
Lenore Zion is the guest. She is the author of two books, the first of which, a humor collection called My Dead Pets Are Interesting, was published by TNB Books in 2011. And now her debut novel, Stupid Children, has just been published by Emergency Press.
Necessary Fiction raves
"Stupid Children is a bildungsroman of twisted proportions told with startling clarity through the filter of a smart, psychoanalytic perspective. No character is safe from Zion’s unapologetic examinations. She bestows her protagonist with an open mind, a sharp intellect, and a sweltering imagination—all of the requisite ingredients for a disturbing, fascinating novel."
And Jonathan Evison says
“Stupid Children surprises and dazzles at every turn. You will not forget this book.”
Stupid Children is the March selection of The TNB Book Club, the official book club of The Nervous Breakdown. For only $9.99 a month, you can get a brand new title delivered to your door every 30 days. And all book club authors are interviewed on this program.
Monologue topics: psycho-digital crises, dinner invitations, key parties, manners, overthinking it.
Ben Fountain raves
"Lipsyte expertly works the line between hilarity and pathos."
And Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, says
“In this second story collection, fierce satire mingles with warmth and pathos as Lipsyte (The Ask) showcases his knack for stylistic variety and tangles with the thorny human experiences of moving beyond one’s past or shedding one’s personal baggage . . . Lipsyte’s biting humor suffuses the collection, but it’s his ability to control the relative darkness of each moment that makes the stories so engrossing.”
Monologue topics: mountain rescue, urban heroism, mail, ménage-á-trois clarifications.
Booklist, in a starred review, calls it
"An ensnaring first novel that delves into the complex challenges and anguish of living with and in the shadow of celebrity. Sneed’s wit, curiosity, empathy, and ability to divine the perfect detail propel this psychologically exquisite, superbly realized novel of intriguing, caricature-transcending characters and predicaments…As Sneed illuminates each facet of her percussively choreographed plot via delectably slant disclosures—overheard conversations, snooping, tabloids, confessions under duress, and journal entries, among them—she spotlights ‘little known facts’ about the cost of fame, our erotic obsession with movie-star power, and where joy can be found."
Kenneth Goldsmith says
"This is a sad and powerful book of love poems. Stephanie Barber understands how things are supposed to work and recognizes that they are broken, and NIGHT MOVES is a screenshot for the help desk in the sky. It's a conceptual ode to Internet philosophy, solidifying the transient nature of online conversation."
Monologue topics: ménage-á-trois, third wheels, Darwinian processes, self-awareness.