Harrold Jaffe says
"Vampire Conditions melds a precise Texas regional with gothic, recalling Flannery O'Connor, who wrote out of Georgia. But Carr's intricate narrative patterns, jump cuts and unanticipated segueshave a distinctly postmodern feel. Any way you cut it, Brian Allen Carr is a potently eccentric writer."
And Robert Lopez raves
"At turns dark and brutal and wickedly funny, Brian Allen Carr's Vampire Conditions will put you in mind of Hannah, Pancake, Powell. This book will grab you by the throat and knock the wind out of you, will make you want to drive south, raise hell, hide out, call home, tell your friends."
Monologue topics: dreams, childbirth, salad bars, fetuses, Christmas, doll houses, emasculation, 2012, passage of time.
David Ohle raves
"In this amazing, collapsed-time text, I’m led along dark alleys of American history by an all-seeing voice-over narrative that reports on things from a great height and in an ultra-factual way. Familiar events of war, sorrow and struggle are seen anew, as if on a slide under a microscope.”
And Adam Braver says
“In The Alligators of Abraham, Robert Kloss drops us into the darkness of the Civil War, showing a culture perpetually on the edge of extinction. Yet out of that murky world, hazed and fogged, rise the clear and distinct shapes of a people not ready to surrender to their own haunting. A novel as lyrical as it is precise in its depiction of the struggle to maintain dignity.”
Monologue topics: burnout, empty-headedness, children's books, subversive kid poems, the power of one, ripple effects.
Mira Gonzalez is today's guest. Her debut poetry collection is called I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together. It is due out from Sorry House in late January 2013.
Blake Butler says
"Mira Gonzalez’s brain spans the weird space between bodies stuffed with Ambien and food and light from porn on laptops in an anxious, calming kind of way, one concerned more with what blood tastes like than how the blood got out. It’s messed up and feels honest, open, like lying naked on the floor with your arms chopped off."
And Victor 'Kool A.D.' Vasquez says
"Mira Gonzalez is doing her thing. I fuck with these poems. I felt bad for her when she talked about how that dude said 'I’m gonna come on your stomach' like 15-20 times and then didn’t."
Monologue topics: Christmas, travel, my daughter, Best Parts / Worst Parts, sobbing fits, losing it.
Diana Wagman is the guest. She is the author of four novels and a past recipient of the PEN West Award for Fiction. Her latest novel, The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets, is now available from Ig Publishing. It is the December selection of The TNB Book Club.
Publishers Weekly raves
“Wagman’s talent for imagery is well served by the subject matter, and the story is perfectly paced, with humorous breaks in the tension. A PEN Center USA Award winner (for Spontaneous), Wagman has crafted an unusual thriller for psychological crime devotees and fans of the peculiar.”
And Book Page calls it
"...a dark, funny and sensitive thriller that might be the first of its kind: the Oedipal abduction tale.”
Monologue topics: holidays, heaviness, Sandy Hook, humanity, self-loathing, anger, depression, compassion.
Ned Vizzini is today's guest. He is the award-winning author of It's Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah.... In television, he has written for MTV and ABC. His essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, and Salon. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets, due out in April 2013. And his latest novel, The Other Normals, is now availalbe from Balzer & Bray.
Lev Grossman raves
"The Other Normals is wildly imaginative, incredibly funny, and weirdly wise. I don’t know where Vizzini gets this stuff —it’s like he’s tapped into the collective unconscious of alienated adolescents everywhere."
And Kirkus says
"With a deft sense of humor and a keen ear for funny and realistic teen dialogue, Vizzini explores one teen everyman’s quest to become a hero, one roll of the six-sided die at a time …. Great geeky fun."
Monologue topics: flu, mail, doubt, self-sabotage, cannabis.
Zena el Khalil is the guest. She is an installation artist, curator, cultural activist, and author. During the July 2006 attacks on Lebanon, her blog, beirutupdate.blogspot.co/uk, was published on CNN and the BCC. In 2008, she was invited to speak at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, and earlier this year she was named a TED fellow. Her memoir, Beirut, I Love You, is now available in the United States in e-book format from NYRB Lit.
Gwyneth Paltrow raves
"Zena El Khalil brings the city and its current events to life through personal anecdotes about loss, tragedy, friendship, life as a young woman in a polarized city, and love for this conflicted, beautiful place she calls home."
And Publishers Weekly says
"Part love letter and part memoir, el Khalil’s work employs her artist’s eye and ear to depict Beirut during and after the Israeli attacks on the country’s south and the Lebanese civil war. No simple chronological narration, this is rather a highly personal, impressionistic depiction of events and emotions…. Her unflinching inside view of Beirut’s tragedy and of ‘Amreekan’ duplicity underscore why her 2006 blog beirutupdate.blogspot.com received international attention."
Monologue topics: Entertainment Capital of the World, iTunes ratings, Board, tweets.
Salvatore Pane is the guest. His chapbook, #KanyeWestSavedFromDrowning, was published by NAP in October, and his debut novel, Last Call in the City of Bridges, is now available from Braddock Avenue Books.
Stewart O'Nan raves
“Like his post po-mo Facebook generation, Michael Bishop, the manic narrator of Last Call in the City of Bridges, has reached the end of his irresponsible youth. Stuck and unsure, he looks back at those eight-bit Nintendo years with tender nostalgia while trying to feel his way forward. Like The Moviegoer, Salvatore Pane’s debut novel is a romantic ironist’s plea for authenticity in a fantastic age. It’s telling–and hilarious–that his hero’s model for male adulthood isn’t William Holden but Super Mario.”
And Tom Bissell says
“Quite obviously, Salvatore Pane’s mind has been dunked in video games, social media, comic books, the WebNet, and everything else our august literary authorities believe promote illiteracy. I’d like to hand the authorities Pane’s novel–a funny, moving, melancholy, sad, and immensely literate book about what being young and confused feels like these days–and tell them, ‘See? Things are going to be fine!’”
Monologue topics: worldview, jackhammering, to-do lists, mental lethargy, flying dinosaurs, palm trees.
Lydia Millet is the guest. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a past recipient of the PEN-USA Award for Fiction, and her story collection, Love in Infant Monkeys (2009), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her latest novel, Magnificence, is now available in hardcover from W.W. Norton and Company.
Jonathan Lethem raves
“[Magnificence is] elegant, darkly comic. . . with overtones variously of Muriel Spark, Edward Gorey and JG Ballard, full of contemporary wit and devilish fateful turns for her characters, and then also to knit together into a tapestry of vast implication and ethical urgency, something as large as any writer could attempt: a kind of allegorical elegy for life on a dying planet. Ours, that is.”
And Salon calls it
Monologue topics: chest colds, tuberculosis, the consumption, agent, manuscript, uncertainty, reading, the concept of "good" art, self-perception.
Sam Lipsyte raves
"The world of Eric Raymond's winning novel may be the 'post-idea economy,' but rest assured, the book is never post-smart, or post-funny. It's a rollicking and inventive corporate (and cultural) satire—get in now at the ground floor, people."
And Blake Butler says
"In a world where cash has become language, Eric Raymond's Confessions from a Dark Wood wastes no syllable in converting cultural mechanisms into a well-oiled, wise-cracking machine. Smart as Saunders, tight as Ellis, but banking waters of its own, after this one we'll no longer 'forget they built the Magic Kingdom on swamps.'"
Monologue topics: December, The Piñatas, the waiting game, seasonal affective disorder, the holidays, gift ideas, TNB Books.