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420 Charactersby Lou Beach
Synopses & Reviews
HE DISMOUNTED at the dead end of the canyon, took a shovel and walked to a spot near a cottonwood and began to dig. When he was knee deep in the hole an arrow passed behind his head. He felt the air move and thought it a daring bird. The second arrow found its mark in his neck and the life seeped from him and he folded, inches from some letters and a lock of hair.
“May [these stories] last a thousand years and be chiseled in stone.” —Jonathan Lethem
“Lou Beach uses words with no sympathy for the reader. He beats us senseless with his brilliance.” —Terry Gilliam
“Bizarre and awesome.”—Bookslut
Acclaimed artist and illustrator Lou Beach began his writing career by updating his Facebook status, every day, with a new stand-alone story no more than 420 characters long. These narrative gems soon appeared on his website, and then arrived in the literary world. Alternately surreal, funny, ominous, and lyrical, 420 Characters offers an experience as dazzling as any in contemporary fiction, revealing worlds of meaning in single paragraphs. Beach’s work has found admirers in Jonathan Lethem, Terry Gilliam, J. Robert Lennon, and others. The collection features original collages by the author.
"By turns cheeky and cherubic, these 420-character shorts from the author's Facebook page encapsulate in pithy form entire plotlines or character studies. Known largely as an illustrator featuring surrealist juxtapositions and startling cut-outs (Beach's artwork appears here intermittently), Beach injects these tidy depictions with a similar boundless, mischievous imagination. 'Zuma Pedley hailed from Lubbock, came to LA in Ã¢Â€Â˜02 with his guitar, some songs, and an ugly dog'; 'Ã¢Â€Â˜Don't drink the tap water,' she said with science in her eyes.' Unforced, thoughtful, occasionally profound, these might be the beginning of story ideas, such as 'I sit in this room in the castle's turret and fashion animals out of twigs and string,' or a snippet of history: 'Vera Ã¢Â€Â˜Wooly' Lamb dressed like a man, and could outcuss, outshoot, and outdrink anyone in pants, Little Rock, 1922.' They might even be a kind of rune for reflection, such as 'I keep my friends in a box under the bed, categorized and separated, secured by blue rubber bands that originally held broccoli.' Or an exotic love story: 'I cork her navel with a ruby, bring her saffron and pomegranates.' What they are, if not gimmicky, is sly, surprising, playful, puzzling — and great fun." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The debut fiction project of an acclaimed artist and illustrator, 420 CHARACTERS is a collection of sharp and evocative miniature stories first presented as Facebook status updates.
Within this collection of miniature stories, entire worlds take shape—some like our own, some hallucinatory fairylands--populated by heartsick cowboys, random criminals, lovers and drifters. In a dazzling narrative constellation, Beachs characters contend with the strange and terrible and beautiful in life, and no outcome is certain. Begun as a series of Facebook status updates, 420 Characters marks a new turn in an acclaimed artist and illustrators career, and features original collages by the author.
Alternately surreal, funny, ominous, and lyrical, Lou Beachs 420 Characters offers an experience as dazzling as any in contemporary fiction. Revealing worlds of meaning in single paragraphs, these crystalline miniature stories that began as Facebook status updates mark a new turn in an acclaimed artist and illustrators career.
This e-book edition has been enhanced with original collages by the author and with exclusive audio of fifteen stories brilliantly read by legendary rock musician Dave Alvin, Golden Globe-winning actor Ian McShane, and Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges.
About the Author
Lou Beachs illustrations have appeared in Wired, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. He has designed album covers for Weather Report, The Neville Brothers, Blink 182, and many others. This is his first book of prose.
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