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Head in Flames

by

Head in Flames Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem the uses of Western Civ! Surely, in the raucous and polyglot new millennium, the husks of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment need "slashes of verve" and "aesthetic savageries." Savagery would seem, at first glance, the aesthetic at work in Lance Olsen's exciting new novel, Head in Flames. A chapterless, relentless narrative, Head unfolds in three alternating typefaces, with no entry longer than a few lines, and many a single barbed word or phrase. Each typeface streams a different consciousness: those of two men intent on spilling blood and another trundling obliviously to his murder. The text offers next to nothing by way of scene setting, and while there's character development, it can be tricky, hidden behind the narrators' posturing." John Domini, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Head in Flames is a collage novel composed of chips of sensation, observation, memory, and quotation shaped into a series of narraticules told by three alternating voices, each inhabiting a different font and aesthetic/political/existential space.

The first belongs to Vincent van Gogh on the day he shot himself in Auvers-sur-Oise in July 1890. The second to Theo van Gogh (Vincent's brother's great grandson) on the day he was assassinated in Amsterdam in November 2004. The third to Mohammed Bouyeri, Theo's murderer, outraged by the filmmaker's collaboration with controversial politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali on a 10-minute experimental short critiquing Muslim subjugation and abuse of women.

The aggregate: an exploration of art's purpose, religion's increasingly dominant role as engine of politics and passion, the complexities of foreignness and assimilation, and the limits of tolerance.

Review:

"Head in Flames has set a new standard for the social consciousness of postmodern narrative." Rain Taxi

Review:

"Recalling the radically condensed novels of David Markson, the fragmented storytelling of Alain Robbe-Grillet, and the high-velocity jump cuts of an action movie — or maybe an MTV music video — Head in Flames is the rare novel that satisfies equally as an exploration of personality, character, novelistic form, and narrative potential." The Quarterly Conversation

Review:

"Striking, shocking....In the world of contemporary fiction, Lance Olsen is a rock star." Brooklyn Rail

Review:

"The great power of the book . . . comes from its unflinching confrontation with painful salients in the conflict of civilizations commonly called the clash of Islam and the West." Flashpoint

Review:

"A fine collage novel." Experimental Fiction / Poetry

Synopsis:

Fiction. HEAD IN FLAMES is an astonishing collage novel composed of chips of sensation, observation, memory, and quotation shaped into a series of narraticules told by three alternating voices, each inhabiting a different font and aesthetic / political / existential space.The first belongs to Vincent van Gogh on the day he shot himself in Auvers-sur-Oise in July 1890. The second to Theo van Gogh (Vincent's brother s great grandson) on the day he was assassinated in Amsterdam in November 2004. The third to Mohammed Bouyeri, Theo's murderer, outraged by the filmmaker's collaboration with controversial politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali on a 10-minute experimental short critiquing Muslim subjugation and abuse of women. The aggregate: a restless, haunting exploration of art's purpose, religion's increasingly dominant role as engine of politics and passion, the complexities of foreignness and assimilation, and the limits of tolerance.

About the Author

Lance Olsen was born in 1956 and received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin (1978, honors), his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers Workshop (1980), and his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) from the University of Virginia. He is author of ten novels, one hypertext, four critical studies, four short-story collections, a poetry chapbook, and a textbook about fiction writing, as well as editor of two collections of essays about innovative contemporary fiction. His short stories, essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Fiction International, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, Village Voice, Time Out New York, BOMB, Gulf Coast, McSweeney's, and Best American Non-Required Reading. Olsen is an N.E.A. fellowship and Pushcart prize recipient, and former governor-appointed Idaho Writer-in-Residence. His novel Tonguing the Zeitgeist was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. His work has been translated into Italian, Polish, Turkish, and Finnish. He has taught at the University of Idaho, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa, the University of Virginia, on summer- and semester-abroad programs in Oxford and London, on a Fulbright in Finland, at various writing conferences, and elsewhere. Olsen currently teaches experimental theory and practice at the University of Utah. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors at Fiction Collective Two; founded in 1974, FC2 is one of America's best-known ongoing literary experiments and progressive art communities. He is Fiction Editor at Western Humanities Review. With his wife, assemblage-artist and filmmaker Andi Olsen, he divides his time between the mountains of central Idaho and Salt Lake City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780981502755
Author:
Olson, Lance
Publisher:
Chiasmus Press
Author:
Olsen, Lance
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20091131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
190

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Small Press » Fiction and Prose

Head in Flames New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.50 In Stock
Product details 190 pages Chiasmus Press - English 9780981502755 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem the uses of Western Civ! Surely, in the raucous and polyglot new millennium, the husks of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment need "slashes of verve" and "aesthetic savageries." Savagery would seem, at first glance, the aesthetic at work in Lance Olsen's exciting new novel, Head in Flames. A chapterless, relentless narrative, Head unfolds in three alternating typefaces, with no entry longer than a few lines, and many a single barbed word or phrase. Each typeface streams a different consciousness: those of two men intent on spilling blood and another trundling obliviously to his murder. The text offers next to nothing by way of scene setting, and while there's character development, it can be tricky, hidden behind the narrators' posturing." John Domini, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
"Review" by , "Head in Flames has set a new standard for the social consciousness of postmodern narrative."
"Review" by , "Recalling the radically condensed novels of David Markson, the fragmented storytelling of Alain Robbe-Grillet, and the high-velocity jump cuts of an action movie — or maybe an MTV music video — Head in Flames is the rare novel that satisfies equally as an exploration of personality, character, novelistic form, and narrative potential."
"Review" by , "Striking, shocking....In the world of contemporary fiction, Lance Olsen is a rock star."
"Review" by , "The great power of the book . . . comes from its unflinching confrontation with painful salients in the conflict of civilizations commonly called the clash of Islam and the West."
"Review" by , "A fine collage novel."
"Synopsis" by , Fiction. HEAD IN FLAMES is an astonishing collage novel composed of chips of sensation, observation, memory, and quotation shaped into a series of narraticules told by three alternating voices, each inhabiting a different font and aesthetic / political / existential space.The first belongs to Vincent van Gogh on the day he shot himself in Auvers-sur-Oise in July 1890. The second to Theo van Gogh (Vincent's brother s great grandson) on the day he was assassinated in Amsterdam in November 2004. The third to Mohammed Bouyeri, Theo's murderer, outraged by the filmmaker's collaboration with controversial politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali on a 10-minute experimental short critiquing Muslim subjugation and abuse of women. The aggregate: a restless, haunting exploration of art's purpose, religion's increasingly dominant role as engine of politics and passion, the complexities of foreignness and assimilation, and the limits of tolerance.
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