American Fugue by Alexis Stamatis
American Fugue (Amerikaniki Fouga) is Stamatis’s first book published in America and available to U.S. readers. The book, which was translated by Etruscan author Diane Thiel and by Constantine Hadjilambrinos, follows a Greek protagonist who visits America, travels across the country, and has a strange and compelling adventure. American Fugue examines the basic themes that are persistent in all of Stamatis’s works of fiction: an all-consuming past, the flight to escape one’s personal demons, and, most importantly, the search for personal identity that is ultimately revealed only through what is unknown to the self. The treatment of these themes is also characteristic of the author’s other novels—travel narrative on the surface, mystery or thriller with an existential dimension at another level, but ultimately a quest for self-discovery and personal redemption.
“One of the most gifted writers of his generation.” —Francoise Noiville, journalist at Le Monde
“Alexis Stamatis always starts his books smoothly, seductively so, but one chapter in you find yourself rushing the pages, intrigued, amazed, surprised. . . ”—Nicholas Papandreou, author of A Crowded Heart
2007 Winner – NEA 1st International Translation Award
Lies Will Take You Somewhere by Sheila Schwartz
“In this strong debut novel, Schwartz takes a hard look at the dark secrets hiding within a marriage. Depressed over the death of her mother six months before, Jane Rosen, a stay-at-home mom of three girls and longtime wife to busy, self-absorbed rabbi Saul, finally flies down to her mother’s long-empty Florida house to put her affairs in order. There, Jane finds evidence of a mother she never knew, while Saul contends with the girls—in particular unhappy, fragile 16-year-old Malkah—and a dying congregant’s bombshell confession, that he had an affair with Jane 10 years before. Shocked and wounded, Saul tells Jane not to come home, leaving her to pursue her mother’s secret life. Soon, Jane’s caught up with a gardener who traps her in a spider web of drugs, sex and secrets. At home, Malkah’s descent into depression and Saul’s compounding fury push the family toward tragedy. Though readers may feel the couple is let too easily off the hook, Schwartz pursues both threads of the story unflinchingly to the end.”—Publishers Weekly
Nahoonkara by Peter Grandbois
Set simultaneously in the farm country of Wisconsin and a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the nineteenth century, the new novel by Peter Grandbois follows the lives of three brothers as each strives to re-create himself despite the forces that work to determine his identity. Though told from the point-of-view of many characters, the novel revolves around Killian, the oldest of the three, as he attempts to recapture a childhood as ephemeral as a dream. While Killian’s brother Henry strives to make the town prosperous and his brother Eli prays to maintain the town’s spiritual center, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that the center will not hold. Violence, lust, and greed tear at the fabric of the town until the only possibility for healing arrives in the form of a snowfall that lasts for three months, burying the town. It is here events take a surreal turn as individual identity collapses.
Nahoonkara, an Ute Indian word that means, “land of the rising blue,” offers a place outside our preconceived notions of reality and identity, a place where we are free to re-imagine ourselves.
“The amazing and masterful thing [in Nahoonkara] is the way that Grandbois ties this very personal, family story to the larger narrative of American expansion; it’s not overt, but we see clearly how individual pain leads to national empire.”—Kel Munger, Colorado Springs Independent Newspaper
2011 Finalist – Foreword Review Book of the Year Award
Quick Kills by Lynn Lurie
Quick Kills chronicles the desperate longing to belong as well as the effects of neglect, familial absence, and the nature of secrets. The young female narrator is seduced by an older man who convinces her that she is the perfect subject for his photographs. Meanwhile, the narrator’s sister embarks on an equally precarious journey. Never clearly delineating the border between art and pornography, the narrator’s escalating disquiet is evidence that lines have been crossed.
“Quick Kills is a chronicle of bewilderment sprung from the terrible want to be wanted, the paralyzing flux of allegiances that keeps us pinned where we ought not be. Girls go missing as readily as shoes in this darkly suggestive novel; nobody’s paying much attention but the predators, who are everywhere and swift. The reader is left to navigate by images, flashes in the dark—a drawer stuffed with frogs, a spatter of blood, a child in an empty swimming pool. Lurie insists that we look, keep looking, make beauty from the ruin, and live.”
—Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First
The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing to Do With Fire by Allison Titus
The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing to Do with Fire, a highly compressed prose poem of a novel, explores the loneliness of three misfits as they attempt to reconnect to the modern world: Vivian, the wallflower who’s obsessed with death; Ronny, the arsonist, who’s resisting the urge to burn the whole town down, and The Doctor, who struggles to glorify his legacy with a brilliant and reckless vision: human flight.
The Burning House by Paul Lisicky
When Isidore Mirsky’s sister-in-law Joan loses her apartment, she moves in. Mirsky’s world is already in flux—his job lost, his bayside town under siege by developers—and now he must struggle with his bewildering attraction to Joan, who evokes for him all the qualities that once drew him to his wife. How can a warm, unpredictable man remain true to himself and to the woman he loves? Desire, and the renewal it brings, might just be the thing that causes damage. Outrageous, tender, and alive with the sound of Isidore’s voice, The Burning House captures a man at his most vulnerable moment, on the brink of something new.
“A vigorous, interior-driven narrative… Lisicky is a beautiful and powerful writer; his prose has a palpable energy that demands close attention….”—Publishers Weekly
“An extraordinary fiction in that it sustains a believable poetic voice throughout… Lisicky’s longer prose piece…often feels like a long, beautiful narrative poem about what it is to be flawed and human in a world that often seems, at best, indifferent.”—The Boston Globe
“Paul Lisicky’s The Burning House smolders with muscular, beautiful language, and shines with love for two sisters as each blossoms darkly into her own future. Lisicky’s odd man out finds his way deeply inside the reader’s desires and hopes. The answer to the question, ‘what do (good) men want?’ may well be answered in this elliptical, pitch-perfect gem of a novel.” — Jayne Anne Phillips
The Disappearance of Seth by Kazim Ali
The Disappearance of Seth tells the interlocking stories of five New Yorkers, stumbling through their lives in the aftermath of the events of September 11 and connected by the paths of two figures—Seth, an alienated young man struggling to come to terms with his own penchant for violence, and Layla, an Iraqi artist who fled the violence of the first Gulf War and made a new home for herself in New York City. Written by an American Muslim, The Disappearance of Seth features characters both Muslim and non-Muslim, American and non-American, in an arresting portrait of life in America at the beginning of the millennium.
“In this lyrical novel, Kazim Ali holds a vast register of human experience in his embrace: fragmentation and connection, braveness and secrecy, the present and the past that lies in ashes. Although recent history is the backdrop, the book’s heart lies in the human landscape of his characters, their sorrows and their navigation of each other.”—Courtney Brkic
“By turns poetic, elliptical and strikingly cinematic, this exquisitely written novel illuminates the strange tightrope we are all walking in the radically altered landscape of post-9/11… This is a novel of both deep intimacy and worldly sweep, heartfelt, wise, and studded with a sharp, wicked wit. Kazim Ali is a remarkable writer.”—Dan Chaon
The Gambler’s Nephew by Jack Matthews
In his latest novel, Matthews returns to the 1850s, the time of his novel, Sassafras (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983). In The Gambler’s Nephew, the reader will enter a world of slavery, abolitionist passion, murder, hypocrisy, grave-robbery, chicanery, holiness, memory, guilt and plain old-fashioned cussedness.
It’s a politically incorrect world of unrepentant capital punishment, when there were plenty of scoundrels just asking to be hanged by the neck until dead, thus coming as close as they could ever get to being civilized. In contrast, however, the reader will come upon the beauty and grandeur of the old steamboats plying the Ohio River, along with people troubled by such grand irrelevancies as love and tenderness. In short, The Gambler’s Nephew brings us a world as richly confused as our own—familiar yet different . . . and as alive as living can get.
The Widening by Carol Moldaw
The Widening is a poetic novel, presenting from the inside a portrait of a young woman’s volatile mix of passivity and wildness. Preoccupied with issues of female sexuality and alienation, and by turns picaresque, dark, and edgily erotic, it takes an unnamed girl in the mid-1970s from high school in California through travels in Spain and into college. The Widening is Moldaw’s first novel.
“In an age when literature often hinges on authorial self-construction, Moldaw’s work is a fascinating act of exploration. The world she discovers is dazzling and scary, haunted and generous, ‘flagrant with expectancy.’”—Dennis Nurkse
Zarathustra Must Die by Dorian Alexander
Zarathustra Must Die is Dorian Alexander’s first work of fiction and traverses several genres as it follows the odyssey of a graduate student grappling with Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal recurrence.” Part fictional memoir, part novel, part philosophical exposition, the work explores the nature of time and its relationship to our existence.
However, Zarathustra Must Die finds a home not only in the high art of philosophy, but also in the low art of sex and drugs. Never taking the journey too seriously, Alexander’s humor ranges from high-brow wit to pure burlesque. Zarathustra Must Die is a thought-provoking fiction experience that defies easy classification.
Bearing Imagination – Outreach
Enjoy our latest video "Bearing Imagination - Outreach" which describes Etruscan's mission and continued literary efforts, funded by grants and donations, including the Ohio Arts Council.
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"At Length", an online journal, has just released a chapter from To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet (forthcoming from Broadstone).
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WVIA Interview with Phil Brady
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