The Washington Post raves
“I’ve read many variations on this theme, some quite good, but never one as powerful as Tim Johnston’s Descent . . . The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly, but the glory of Descent lies not in its plot but in the quality of the writing. The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story; each somehow enhances the other . . . Read this astonishing novel. It’s the best of both worlds.”
And Mary Roach says
“Descent is the best novel I've read in a long time. Unlike most books that fall into the category of Page Turner, this one also falls in the category of Writing So Good You Can't Even Believe It. Johnston has a superhuman gift for watching and listening to the world and rendering, on the page, its beauty and savagery with such detail and power that the story feels almost more like memory than something read. I was so absorbed in the final incredible fifty pages that I missed my flight to La Guardia.”
Monologue topics: Ann Bauer, Salon, writing, writers, money, class, privilege, honesty, The Struggle.
Alexis Coe is the guest. She is the author of Alice + Freda Forever, available now from Pulp/Zest Books.
Peter Orner says
"Alexis Coe rescues a buried but extraordinarily telling episode from the 1890's that resonates in all sorts of ways with today. That in itself would be an accomplishment. But this is a book that is truly riveting, a narrative that gallops. Lizzy Borden eat your heart out. Here's a real crime of passion. Or was it? 'And so Alice carried the razor around every day in her dress pocket, just in case Freda came to town…' I dare you to pick this one up and try, just try to put it down."
And Vol. 1 Brooklyn says
"Though the history recounted in Alexis Coe's Alice + Freda Forever is captivating in its own right, Coe also provides a larger context for it, elevating this to the level of a societal indictment. This story of a star-crossed love with a violent ending at times reads like a microcosm of Memphis at the end of the 19th century. As Coe's narrative delves into perceptions of sexuality and the ways in which the case touched on different aspects of daily life, it never loses sight of the tragic romance at its core."
Monologue topics: mail, Chelsea Hodson, prurience, sex, manners, gender.
Vol. 1 Brooklyn says
"Whether he's describing a grandmother who gets pulled into a watery grave by an almost mythological fish or telling the creepy story of a creature that wouldn't be out of place in an H.P. Lovecraft story, Pierce constantly pulls together concepts from the outmost edges of outré fiction and the kind of unassumingly profound storytelling that made authors like Flannery O'Connor and George Singleton household names."
And Beach Sloth says
“Black humor has never been darker than this; this is the absolute pitch black of humor."
Monologue topics: war, war on terror, word usage, Charlie Hebdo, terrorism.
Chelsea Hodson is the guest. Her chapbook entitled Pity the Animal is available now in print from Future Tense Books at Powells.com, and electronically from Emily Books as a Kindle Single.
Tobias Carroll calls it
“One of the best literary works I’ve encountered this year... much of its power comes from the way it juxtaposes seemingly unrelated elements: a retrospective of Marina Abramović’s art, scenes from Hodson’s life, economic musings, and considerations of adventure. The way these eventually coalesce is immeasurably powerful; the accumulated effect is devastating, and hits harder than many works ten times its length.”
And Bitch magazine calls it
"Pointed, scathing, and suspenseful. This critical yet intimate essay is not to be missed."
Monologue topics: leafblowers, chainsaws, suffering.