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Fireworkby Eugene Marten
"A writer, some say, is a person who knows the names of things: the name of the tree and the name of the window through which the tree is seen; the name of the car parked by the tree and the name of the child who falls from the tree; the name of the bone and the name of the break. Then there's another view that holds that if names are powerful, then, like a boyfriend or the car keys when you really need to get to work, they'll be more powerful in their absence.
These are matters of concern to Eugene Marten and the antihero of his latest novel, Firework. Like its predecessor, Waste (Ellipsis Press, 2008), the book depicts a deeply disturbed commoner — this time a bureaucrat, road-tripper, family man, and right-wing extremist (of a sort) named Jelonnek." Dylan Hicks, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & Reviews
Jelonnek is a blue collar Midwesterner trapped in a life he is almost sure he wants to escape. Driven by a dim yearning to transcend, he makes the first real choice of his life when a simple errand to a convenience store escalates into a terrifying encounter. He soon finds himself on a cross-country odyssey with a woman he barely knows and her young daughter, in search of escape and new beginnings. They find shelter in an isolated existence at the edge of the country, only to be besieged by threats from outside and, finally, from within. A descent into paranoia, nascent violence and sexuality follows, culminating in a one-man Armageddon and an aftermath as hopeful as it is horrifying.
Firework is the story of a man who, though ill-equipped to help himself, attempts to help someone else, and the beautifully rendered, perhaps necessary catastrophe that results. Unequaled in intensity, it is also an exhilarating expression of the noble, all-too human impulse to become more than what we seem to be.
"A bleak third novel by Marten (Waste) obliquely pursues paranoia and grim circumstance via the twisted story of Jelonnek, a colorless, tight-lipped, not unsympathetic state government functionary, who, as the novel opens, is in jail after having been arrested during a prostitution sting. After his release, Jelonnek's routine is revealed: his live-in girlfriend is an equally nondescript bank employee. They both drink a lot, and he repeatedly watches the video of the same Kansas City Chiefs football game. The plot collects some impetus when Jelonnek attends his brother's wedding; while on a cigarette run with his sister's boyfriend, George, he finds himself on a horrifying joy ride after George picks up two black prostitutes and turns frighteningly abusive. After they ditch George, a road trip ensues with Jelonnek driving one of the women, Littlebit, and her young daughter, Miss D, to California to find an elusive cousin. Marten plays with ethnic and racial stereotypes and notions of 'family,' as the three outcasts form a startlingly caring unit despite Jelonnek's increasing unbalance. Marten seems to delight in making the reader uncomfortable, though his prose can be as obfuscating as it is enlightening, blunting the impact of his unapologetically stark worldview. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Firework is the story of a man, who, though ill-equipped to help himself, attempts to help someone else, and the beautiful catastrophe that results. Often unbearably intense, it is also an exhilarating expression of the nobility of the all-too human impulse to be more than what we seem to be.
Called "an explosive road novel" by Vanity Fair, Eugene Marten is the rightful successor to Cormac McCarthy.
Fiction. FIREWORK is the story of a man, who, though ill-equipped to help himself, attempts to help someone else, and the beautiful catastrophe that results. Often unbearably intense, it is also an exhilarating expression of the nobility of the all-too human impulse to be more than what we seem to be.
Praise for Eugene Marten's Waste:
"When a poet pal had put a copy of Waste into my hands, I right away went nuts. . . . Here, said I, in wild proclamation, is one for history and a half."— Gordon Lish
Firework is the story of a man who, though ill-equipped to help himself, attempts to help someone else, and the beautifully rendered, perhaps necessary catastrophe that results. Unequaled in intensity and often blackly humorous, it is also an exhilarating expression of the all-too-human impulse to become more than what we seem to be.
Eugene Marten is the author of In the Blind and Waste.
About the Author
Eugene Marten is the author of In the Blind (Turtle Point Press, 2003), Waste (Ellipsis Press, 2008), and Firework (Tyrant Books, 2010). He lives in New York City.
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