Author Archives: Fiction Advocate

5 Qs for Robert Repino, Author of Leap High Yahoo

Leap High Yahoo

Robert Repino, author of the breakout sci-fi novel Mort(e), has published a new novella.

Like his first novel, Leap High Yahoo is about animals and violence in an eerie future that bears a strong resemblance to a ravaged Philadelphia. Unlike his first novel, Leap High Yahoo also about humans, China, capitalism, the Occupy movement, and xenophobia. And the audiobook is narrated by none other than Bronson Pinchot. Continue reading

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HITTING SHELVES #24: Cries for Help, Various by Padgett Powell

Cries for Help Various

Cries for Help, Various by Padgett Powell comes out today!

It’s not only the latest collection of stories from a writer who adamantly defies classification and makes our tummies flutter with each sentence (check out our rave reviews of The Interrogative Mood and You & Me), it’s also the first book from a new publishing venture called Catapult, which combines the best of Electric Literature with the best of Black Balloon Publishing. If your tummy isn’t fluttering yet, reading these two stories from the collection will help.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Cries for Help, Various?

Padgett Powell: Let’s see:

Padgett Powell

Padgett Powell

I will celebrate with the observation that I am still alive, not in hospital or jail, yet compos mentis. I will imbibe a short steel tumbler of prune juice to keep the vitamins non-emetic. I will shoot a squirrel if I see one and skin it before girding loins and going to have the TSA feel me up and confiscate my toothpaste and then I will fly to a launch party for the book, which I have not, in my thirty-plus-year career of peddling books so good no one buys them, ever had. There, friends in high literary quarter will read from the book and I hope not embarrass themselves. Roy Blount writes better than I do and I am funnier than he is so he may have trouble. The thing is September 10 somewhere a Facebook link I don’t have on me may reveal to you, maybe my publicist will see this and add it, I invite anyone interested to come.

[Publicist’s Note] It would be great if you could please share the link he mentions. Launch party: Thursday September 10th at 7pm at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in NY, NY.

Get the book here.

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HITTING SHELVES #23: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh


Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh comes out today!

It’s the story of Eileen Dunlop, a young woman in 1964 cloistered in her secretarial job at a New England correctional facility for boys. A new counselor shows up and pulls Eileen out of her bizarre interior life, into a startling crime.

Moshfegh, author of the world’s least likely literary masterpiece about a pirate, is being hailed as “The Next Big Thing” and we couldn’t agree more. Nobody writes such unsettling stories with such poise. Reading Eileen is like hearing Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, and Alfred Hitchcock sit around a fireplace and one-up each other.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Eileen?

Ottessa Moshfegh: I’m leaving California and driving across the country back to Boston, my home of origin, in September. I haven’t lived there since I was half my age. I must say I’m excited to be getting rid of nearly everything I own. On August 18th, the day Eileen comes out in stores, I’ll email my heartfelt appreciation to the wonderful people responsible for its publication, and then I’ll probably lug some more stuff to the charity thrift store up the street. Probably just dishes, and this silk pillow that has started to creep me out. It’s hand painted and very pretty, but the painting is of this really uptight Japanese woman’s face. I always felt sort of judged by her for not having a fancier apartment. So I’ll donate her, let her terrorize the next jerk. Then I’ll go for a walk around the cemetery. Continue reading

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HITTING SHELVES #22: The Beautiful Bureaucrat

The Beautiful Bureaucrat

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips comes out today!

It’s the story of Josephine, a young woman who moves to a massive, unnamed city and finds work as a file clerk, essentially, for a bizarre corporation. The corporation lies to her, praises her, and grooms her to become a perfect cog in the system, a Beautiful Bureaucrat. But Josephine can’t ignore the discrepancies in her files, and she can’t ignore the trouble at home: her husband keeps disappearing for no apparent reason.

With Kafka’s deep eeriness and Terry Gilliam’s stunning weirdness, Helen Phillips tells a wholly original story that will make you question your place in “the system” and your relationships with the people you love most.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of The Beautiful Bureaucrat? Continue reading

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Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Wittgenstein's Mistress

It’s frustrating! Rewarding! Brilliant! Difficult!

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of reading David Markson’s famous novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, maybe you should bring a friend along.

That’s what Kelsey Osgood did.

Kelsey is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New Republic, Salon, and Vice, but even she didn’t feel up to the task of reading Wittgenstein’s Mistress alone. So she read it with Nemira Gasiunas, a Philosophy PhD candidate at Columbia University, whose qualifications for understanding a novel based on the ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein include “a very sage-sounding British accent.”

Osgood / Gasiunas

Osgood / Gasiunas

Now you can bring Kelsey and Nemira along as you read Wittgenstein’s Mistress. Divided into five parts, their smart, funny, occasionally exasperated commentary will help you tackle one of the most enduring novels of our time.

Just grab the book and read along.

Eighty Dollars and No Sense (Pages 1-50)

Alone Again, Naturally (Pages 50-100)

Maybe He’s Just Fucking With Us (Pages 100-150)

The End is Nigh (Pages 150-200)

The Ends (Pages 200-240)

Good luck!

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HITTING SHELVES #21: The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock

The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock comes out today!

It’s a deceptive novel: a book about flying that is actually about fatherhood; a book about the Space Race whose protagonist is a dropout from the program; a book about an iconic period in American history by an author born in England; a book about technological triumph that hides a family tragedy. More than any other account of our first adventures in space, The Last Pilot puts a sympathetic face on the domestic hardships behind the scenes.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of The Last Pilot?

Benjamin Johncock

Benjamin Johncock

I wasn’t expecting today to be so emotional. My wife and I celebrated when we got the book deal, over a year ago, and then she threw a surprise party for me at the beginning of the summer. But, but, well; there it is. It crept up on me over coffee and Novel 2 this morning. It’s been a long way, but we’re here, to quote Al Shepard. What an extraordinary privilege it is to be published. My wife has just messaged me to say she’s bought champagne, steaks, and she’s lighting a fire in the garden where we’ll eat later, when the kids are asleep. We’re going to raise a glass to a few people tonight, because I’d rather give thanks than celebrate. The list is large for the road was long. Someone once told me that thanksgiving gives buoyancy for the inevitable tough times—of which I’m sure there will be plenty. If you ask me, self-celebration leads to self-elevation, which leads to becoming an a-hole. And here’s the thing: as soon as you start to think you’re great, the needle on future prose goes down. Self-doubt is your friend. No writer should ever lose the fear of being crap. I certainly don’t intend to. But tonight, we’ll take a moment, in the quiet, under the stars, together.

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