THE LAST DAYS OF OSCAR WILDE

(Burlesque Press)

2017

 

The renowned and now thoroughly infamous author is struggling through his final years in Paris.  His reputation is ruined.  His finances are in shambles.  He drinks too much.  He is reduced to begging meals from strangers; he even resorts to minor fraud to raise a few more pounds to live on. The most important romantic relationship of his life, his alliance with Lord Alfred Douglas, is now but a strained, overwrought friendship marked on both sides by resentments and guilt.  

 

And yet against this backdrop of poverty, social downfall, and disappearing fortitude, Oscar Wilde survives.  While his sense of self has been rent, he maintains his humor, an active joie de vivre, an affection for superstitious religiosity, and a network of devoted friends.  He even manages to fall in love again.  But can his close circle of devoted friends convince him to pick up his pen one more time and write?

Award-winning fiction writer Rachel Hall calls The Last Days of Oscar Wilde "a portrait that is rich and nuanced and utterly compelling."

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ISLAND FOG

(Lavender Ink)

2014

 

The eleven stories of Island Fog are connected by both geography and theme. Every story is set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, and together they span a period of Nantucket history from 1795 to 2005, with four different centuries represented. Some of the characters the reader meets along the way include an 18th century wigmaker accused of a notorious bank robbery, a 19th century "whaling widow" who has newly awakened to important aspects of her sexual nature, a former whale ship captain who once had to resort to cannibalism to survive an extended period at sea, a 20th century plumber whose wife jumped off the Hyannis to Nantucket ferry with her infant child in her arms, and a 21st century ghost tour leader who is being metaphorically haunted by a former lover.

Praising Island Fog, legendary storyteller Wendell Mayo writes, "Rarely have I enjoyed a story collection with such artistic and  historical sweep, one so quintessentially and vibrantly American."

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DAYS ON FIRE

2013

 

John Vanderslice follows up his metafictional romantic comedy Burnt Norway with a powerful historical novel about Vincent Van Gogh, an artist that many of us think we know but don't really--not like this. Spanning the arc of Van Gogh's life from his boyhood years in Holland to his breakdown in Arles to his year of confinement in St. Paul's asylum in Saint-Remy, Days on Fire leads readers through a veritable roller coaster of blunted hopes, harrowing romances, personal betrayals, backbreaking labor, and, finally, hard-earned artistic success. For all the evident ire and disappointment in Van Gogh's famously turbulent life, Days on Fire is ultimately a story of success, not tragedy.

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BURNT NORWAY

2009

 

Paul Mullen wants to tell the tale of how he created hs second novel. After all, he wasn't having the time of his life before he decided to write Burnt Norway. His first novel was a financial distaster; his wife left him; and his son seemed unable to communicate anything other than the plots of anime cartoons. Then he got an idea. And then he got a sabbatical.

As Paul struggles to make use of his time, his extremely liberated--and way too forgetful--agent keeps handing him new imperatives. At her urging, he turns his book into a sea adventure. He changes his characters from Norwegians to Danes to Finns, and then back to Norwegians. He spends hours emailing a Scandinavian Studies professor in Oregon; he flies to New York to attend drunken publishing parties; he argues with his ex-wife; and always--always--he scrounges for more information on Norway, especially from his son's Summer Vacation 3rd Grade workbook. Does Paul finish his novel? Does he find a publisher? And is it possible he's fallen in love?

John Vanderslice's novel mixes together a little bit of everything--Yu-Gi-Oh foolishness, daring on the high seas, Nazis, blunderbusses, Thor Heyerdahl, legendary NYC delicatessens, and the brave new world of Google--to form a hilarious metafictional brew. 

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 a copy of The Last Days of Oscar Wilde.