“THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD”

An in-depth review of the novel HERE LIES MEMORY by Doug Rice appears in the current issue of AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW.

Here is an except:

THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD by tara stillions whitehead

“A photograph never remains innocent. Just like a mirror is never innocent.” —Doug Rice

Those in search of a Faulknerian novel set in Pittsburgh will find themselves easily absorbed by Doug Rice’s lyrical meditation, Here Lies Memory, a book that skillfully braids myriad existential themes to form a multi-tiered narrative suspended between forms. From the relationship between identity and place to the speciousness of sight and words, Rice investigates how simulated realities and gentrification’s continued oppression of already marginalized groups—minorities, the indigent, the addicted, and the psychologically afflicted—distort collective memory and perpetuate dominant culture’s legacy of violent hegemony within the social narrative. Parallel narratives and succulent prose convey this tall order of emotionally charged themes and do so with a sophisticated understanding of narrative balance.

Readers are first introduced to Elgin, an African-American Vietnam War vet and widower whose despair over witnessing the continued gentrification and ultimate disappearing of his neighborhood and its history leads him to will himself into blindness. As with many of the characters in Rice’s book, Elgin seeks self-preservation, and blindness is his only means of doing so. “Going blind,” Rice writes, “saved Elgin from the oblivion being created by a world that was too full of things to see. It stopped him from losing what remained of the world that was worth saving…The old neighborhoods were becoming invisible. Renaissance this, renaissance that. Call it what you want, to Elgin it was stealing stories. Memories were dying. Outside, in the world of the seeing, the past was being erased more and more. All that was true was being forgotten.” Disappearing neighborhoods are not the only things at risk of being lost in a world with little regard for the past; Elgin’s memories of his beloved and deceased Thuy, the Vietnamese woman Elgin brought home from the war and married, are equally at risk. And Elgin and Thuy’s teenage grandson Johnny is, for Elgin, the greatest potential threat to her and the family’s eventual disappearance.

The bulk of Elgin’s story involves persistent attempts at making Johnny conscious of his naïveté and complicit ambivalence, and through these encounters, Rice’s commentary regarding the labor involved in creating dialogue between generations becomes apparent. Through sightless Elgin, we also see the importance of the oral tradition of storytelling in keeping blood memories alive. “Your story,” he tells Johnny, “began before you ever began. Before your mother cried her first tear. Before I kissed your grandmother. Before. That’s when words begin making you. In the before.” The before is Elgin’s father, Clarence, whose vitriol regarding the loss of his first love is, according to Elgin, an important part of who Johnny will become. One has to ask, though, is Rice arguing that aspects of one’s history are beyond escaping? Are we forever prisoner to our blood memory? Johnny’s quest to find his great-grandfather’s ghost and, presumably, confront the despair he would rather ignore, is a journey towards knowing the answer; in the end, Johnny’s passive observation of the spectral image of Clarence’s riverside mourning leaves no concrete resolution. Arguably, the final moments of the book foreshadow Johnny’s likely lapse into the same self-preservation that eventually takes Elgin, and Johnny’s surrender to storytelling as the answer to the things we do not know and therefore fear unsettles an otherwise staunch argument about the importance of increased visibility among the marginalized.

Rice explores place and memory simultaneously, removing them from the abstract via analogy: The city of Pittsburgh is as much a physical place—made of words—as it is an amalgamation of memory, or that of touch. Additionally, Rice explores experience and the human condition as something of a script, or a text that is rewritten and storied by the individual and culture. The problem with revision is the lack of consensus. Tenderness for one is violence for another; the simulated is…

-from American Book Review, Volume 38, Number 2,

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HERE LIES MEMORY is available worldwide on Amazon.

Welcome to Blissville USA!

Take this hilarious trip back to 1970s suburbia and meet sexy Beulah Montezuma. Alas, despite her abundant charms, she’s having a hard time satisfying her well-endowed hubby. But Beulah is not a quitter, and she’s determined to give it her all in this outrageous “erotical” novel.

Originally published by Grove Press, we’re proud to bring this raunchy classic back to life in a New Urge edition. And, yes, the cat (and the pun) is out of the bag now, as the man behind the Stephanie Gatos pseudonym is none other than writer and poet Steve Katz.

Steve is the author of many  acclaimed books of fiction and poetry, including The Exagggerations of Peter Prince (recently reissued), Creamy and Delicious, Saw, Wier & Pouce, Florry of Washington Heights, Swanny’s Ways, Journalism, et al.

This Posh is his.

But this is no time for pussyfooting…CLICK HERE and order your copy today!

You can sample the first chapter for free in the special “Eros” issue of LE SCAT NOIR here

AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON AMAZON

EROS IS EROS IS EROS…

The Special “Eros” Issue of LE SCAT NOIR is now availablefeaturing titillating texts & images by Adrienne Auvray, Paulo Brito, Tom Bussmann, Norman Conquest, Esbey, Stephanie Gatos, Eckhard Gerdes, Georges Hugnut, Jim Johnson, Steve Katz, Michael Leigh, Terri Lloyd, Mantis Man, Derek Pell, Frank Pulaski, Paul Rosheim, Mercie Pedro e Silva, Doug Skinner, Nile Southern, Carol White. and Mihaly Zichy.  

***includes an excerpt from the novel POSH by Stephanie Gatos.

To preview and download this naughty noir,  CLICK HERE

Just in the click of time….

We’ve done our spring cleaning. LE SCAT NOIR is sporting a new logo and masthead design. (Yes, the journal’s mascot “Scatman” has finally made the front cover.) In addition to our regular features (Adrienne Auvray’s “News in a Nutshell,” Terri Lloyd’s “Dear P.B. advice column,” Doug Skinner’s absurd musical instruments, and Frank Pulaski’s no holds barred horoscopes) this special April Fools  issue includes outstanding fiction by Alphonse Allais, Eckhard Gerdes, Jan Vander Laenen, Jason E. Rolfe, and D. Harlan Wilson; humor by Peter Gambaccini; poetry by Paul Rosheim; and sublime art by Darlene Altschul, Paulo Brito, and Carla M. Wilson.

To celebrate spring and the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, we offer readers a free ticket to the festivities. Finally, our short-lived national nightmare is over. Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

CLICK HERE to preview and download the issue.

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OK, that’s your freebie for today…now plunk down your coins for Alphonse Allais‘s new collection, I AM SARCEY.  This is the book Black Scat was born to publish.

Now Available Worldwide on Amazon. CLICK HERE to order.

March On!

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The new issue is available for download!  It features an all-star cast of misfits: Adrienne Auvray, Mark Axelrod, Robert Beveridge, Paulo Brito, Norman Conquest, Farewell Debut, Rory Forsythe-Elder, Ryan Forsythe, Eckhard Gerdes, Richard Kostelanetz, Clyde Liffey, Micah Lee Mowbray, Jenean McBrearty, Opal Louis Nations, Frank Pulaski, Shane Roeschlein, Mercie Pedro e Silva, and Doug Skinner.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy.

Scat’s New Face on the Web

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No, wait, that’s not right. We haven’t changed our logo and mascot.  But we’re pleased to announce that we’ve  just launched our new web site.  So now, when you think of Black Scat Books, think NET, as in our new address:

BlackScatBooks.net

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We think you’ll find the new site easy to navigate and fun to browse. Instead of scrolling for miles on this blog, our catalog is organized by categories via a convenient drop down menu.  So please check it out and bookmark the site in your browser.

As for this blog, we’ll still be posting here, but will slowly phase out the pages.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…insane!

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These plays, plays by Axelrod, Mark, the other Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, his plays, are. And are the plays of Axelrod, no
t the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, and are the plays of Axelrod, Axelrodian.  Yes, in all manner of speaking, speaking high or low, they are and you, the Reader, Reader of Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, should read these plays with relish. For without relish, they would not be as absurd.
—Samuel Beckett


Can Superman avoid deportation?

Will Van Gogh survive an IRS audit?

Does Donald Trump talk to himself?

Has the world gone mad?

This outrageous and timely collection confronts our contemporary nightmares with devastating wit and insight. In the provocative title play, Superman stands trial as an illegal alien. In “A Colloquy of Birds,” Axelrod takes aim at a flock of notorious Republican women — the “politically effete.” And just when you thought it was safe to applaud, experience the maniacal monologues of Chairman Trump.

Here are eight rousing absurdist dramas destined to be modern classics.

SUPERMAN IN AMERICA & OTHER ABSURD PLAYS
by Mark Axelrod
Trade paperback, 354 pp.,  $16

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

 


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Get it while it’s hot…

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The February issue has just launched and you can read it for free at THIS LINK.

LE SCAT NOIR #220 features works by an international cast of misfits:  Christopher Barnes, Paulo Brito, Eckhard Gerdes, Thomas Gresham, Colin James, Michael Leigh, Terri Lloyd, Samantha Memi, Frank Pulaski, Jason E. Rolfe, Merve Semsar, Doug Skinner, and  Franciszka Themerson.

Call for Submissions

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Black Scat’s New Urge imprint is seeking erotic fiction for a third volume in the popular NEW URGE READER series.

We’re looking for women writers with a fresh vision. We want to be surprised, seduced, hypnotized, transported, or transformed by your words. Think surrealism, noir, feminist erotica, speculative texts, dream diaries—explorations that transcend genre.

LENGTH: 500 – 10,000 words
RIGHTS: First Rights
REPORTING TIME: Two weeks
PAYMENT: A copy of the paperback
DEADLINE: October 15th, 2017

Manuscripts  should  be submitted as attachments in Word or PDF format. Send to newurge (at) iCloud (dot) com.  Please include the word “anthology” in the subject line and make sure your name and email address are included in the manuscript.

 

 

2017—Full Speed Ahead!

PUB-NOTES

appleIn addition to the exciting  books we have planned for the new year, we’re also  designing a new web site which we hope to launch in the spring. This blog has served us well since  the summer of 2012, but who knew our list would grow so large  it requires ten minutes to scroll through. Thus, we need the power of a web site to make  browsing  easier and pleasurable.

Our  successful fundraising campaign  allowed us to perform last rites  on our dilapidated Windows system and the outdated software we were struggling with. So Scat is totally a Mac shop now.  Forgive the expression, but our workflow has become almost efficient, and the thousands of files in our archive have been ported over safely and backed up on the Cloud.

I should point out that we will not be tampering with our mascot logo because it’s as well regarded as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (No shit!)

On another front, the response to our free  journal, Le Scat Noir, has been phenomenal, and we invite you to download issues and tell your friends. If we  continue finding readers, we’ll be able to attract a few paid advertisements to  underwrite the cost of bringing it to you every month.

Finally, despite the  dire results of the election, 2016 was a very good year for Black Scat. You can be sure we’ll continue to do our part to fight the good fight and stand up against threats to our freedoms.

We trust you’ll do the same.

Onward & upward!

—Norman Conquest

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