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The Divine Farce (Leaplit)

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The Divine Farce (Leaplit) Cover

ISBN13: 9781935248040
ISBN10: 1935248049
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A Dante/Beckett reduction of human struggle to its lowest common denominator.”—Michael Mirolla, author of The Formal Logic of Emotion and Berlin

“One of the most original and thought-provoking stories I have ever read...true literary art...Not a word is wasted in this masterpiece. Yes, I call it that. I have read many classics, and I can tell you that The Divine Farce should be counted among them; the finest in American literature.”—Geekscribe

Three strangers are condemned to live together in darkness, crushed together in a concrete stall so small that they can never sit down. Liquid food drips down from above. Waste drains through a grid on the floor. So begins one of the strangest, most surreal comments on the human experience, on love and hatred and the human ability to find good in any situation, no matter how difficult. Michael S. A. Graziano delights in the macabre and surreal, yet it is his optimism that lifts this little novel. Like The Love Song of Monkey, this book is deeply thought provoking, horrifying, and funny.

Praise for The Love Song of Monkey:

“Imaginative, intelligent narrative. Twin ideas of forgiveness and mercy twist through this strange, moving, patiently wrought novel.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fabulously imagined, seriously considered, and very funny. A kind of fairytale antithesis on the meaning of existence. . . . Fantastic.”—Spirituality and Health Books

“Strange but wonderful . . . like nothing I’ve read before. A very short book, but the scope is epic in detail. . . . I enjoyed the heck out of this book.”—Geekscribe

“Should be required reading in the writing grad schools. . . . There’s nary a word wasted. What’s left is comedy, retrospection, betrayal, tenderness, meditations on loneliness, a love story that survives all attempts to suppress it . . . not bad within 149 pages.”—Barnstable Patriot

Michael S. A. Graziano, Princeton University neuroscientist, is the author of the novella Hiding Places (New England Review, 1997), the novel The Love Song of Monkey (Leapfrog Press, 2008), and The Intelligent Movement Machine (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Review:

"In this darkly inventive second work of fiction, Graziano (The Love Song of Monkey) deposits his protagonist among the despairing crowds of an institutional hell. At first, the narrator, a thin man known as Sage, shares a tiny, dank cell with a woman and man, Rose and Henry Greene, so-called because of the 'color' of their voices. Locked together in such close quarters, the three grow intimately close, even loving; when Sage later digs a hole in the concrete and they push their way out, they eventually lose one another in the mad flux of other cave dwellers. Sage follows the herd to the feed trough, learns how to jostle savagely for the hard biscuits (stamped with an H: hell or heaven? Sage wonders) and even feels a kind of comfort within the mob: 'the warmth of universal inclusion.' His curiosity gets the better of him as he wonders what's behind the light holes in the ceiling: eternal freedom or eternal isolation? Graziano's grim allegory interrogates human existence with its visceral, sensuous description." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A surreal story about love, hatred, and the transcendent ability to find good in any situation.

About the Author

Michael S. A. Graziano, professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, is the author of the novella Hiding Places (New England Review, 1997), the novel The Love Song of Monkey (Leapfrog Press, 2008), The Seclusion Zone (finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Category, 2007), and The Intelligent Movement Machine (Oxford University Press, 2008).

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Grady Harp, October 26, 2009 (view all comments by Grady Harp)

'...suffer a sea change into something rich and strange.'

Reading Michael S.A. Graziano's THE DIVINE FARCE invites, or rather plunges the reader into one of the most intriguing stories or worlds imaginable. In the words of Shakespeare's Hamlet we might think back after reading this tale and recall 'O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.' As in his previous novel THE LOVE SONG OF MONKEY - the transformation of a dying AIDS patient placed for possible cure in a dysfunctional molecular rearrangement machine only to be tossed into the depths of the ocean where he lives with the flora and fauna of the sea - Graziano has placed three naked characters in a claustrophobic tube for an indefinite period of time, a living space where the two men and the woman dwell bonded together by lack of space, feeding from pear nectar dripping from above and standing in their own excrement until the narrator picks a hole in the tube - an act that eventually allows them free fall into an even stranger albeit more spacious dark and filthy cave. At first feeling freed, our narrator soon realizes that in this new world of equally naked, silent, wretched creatures that his only connect was the bond among the three trapped original specimens. 'Theatrics don't work if nobody cares. Writhing is never a useful balm to the soul'. And on exploring the meaningless dark cavern of needy bodies ('a motet of uncountable voices') he states 'So I was inducted from a microcosm to macrocosm.'

Wandering through his new space, now separated from his two former friends, he searches for ways to survive, finding feeding troughs and a water source that provided the most meager nutrition, but from where? Among the throngs of silent equally trapped victims 'we had lost all our capacity for imagination. For vision.', somehow our narrator maintains enough of his need for identity, for knowing, that he spies light in the dome of the cave, and after living in the mire of the cavern he devises a way to escape, only to find that once outside the cave, he is in yet another ambiguous space and his primary need to reclaim his old 'friends' in the space below consumes him.

Graziano has the gift to create atmospheres so detailed and dark and vile that the reader almost feels that holding this little book of a story will be terminal contamination. His description of the basic needs of humans - food, drink, sex, proximity with others and most importantly friendship - shakes us with both repulsion and passionate need. This is not a novel about fantasy computer generated worlds where all elements are oversized machines turned human (and vice versa). This story wades into the mud of our worst very real nightmares and, like waking up, still in the dark, shakes our belief systems and compassion that accompanies being alone, very alone, in the incomprehensible dark. Graziano's gift is that he ignites a tiny yet potentially powerful light that suggests the miracle of being a human - and makes us figure out just what is threatening and what is relevant and necessary. This is one of the best books of the year.

Grady Harp
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781935248040
Author:
Graziano, Michael S A
Publisher:
Leapfrog Press
Author:
Graziano, Michael S. a.
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Self-actualization (psychology)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Leaplit
Publication Date:
20091131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
128
Dimensions:
7 x 4.6 x 0.3 in 4.5 oz

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Divine Farce (Leaplit) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 128 pages Leapfrog Press - English 9781935248040 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this darkly inventive second work of fiction, Graziano (The Love Song of Monkey) deposits his protagonist among the despairing crowds of an institutional hell. At first, the narrator, a thin man known as Sage, shares a tiny, dank cell with a woman and man, Rose and Henry Greene, so-called because of the 'color' of their voices. Locked together in such close quarters, the three grow intimately close, even loving; when Sage later digs a hole in the concrete and they push their way out, they eventually lose one another in the mad flux of other cave dwellers. Sage follows the herd to the feed trough, learns how to jostle savagely for the hard biscuits (stamped with an H: hell or heaven? Sage wonders) and even feels a kind of comfort within the mob: 'the warmth of universal inclusion.' His curiosity gets the better of him as he wonders what's behind the light holes in the ceiling: eternal freedom or eternal isolation? Graziano's grim allegory interrogates human existence with its visceral, sensuous description." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
A surreal story about love, hatred, and the transcendent ability to find good in any situation.
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