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Fra Keelerby Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Synopses & Reviews
A man purchases a house, the house of Fra Keeler, moves in, and begins investigating the circumstances of the latter's death. Yet the investigation quickly turns inward, and the reality it seeks to unravel seems only to grow more strange, as the narrator pursues not leads but lines of thought, most often to hideous conclusions.
"Van der Vliet Oloomi's debut novel turns out to be a surrealist triumph despite a jerky entry into the narrator's world. An unnamed man purchases a house with one thought in mind — to investigate the death of its former owner, Fra Keeler. Upon moving in, however, his investigation becomes hindered by his own tangled thoughts. A clearly unreliable narrator, the character nonetheless draws the reader deeper into his mental labyrinth, as snippets of a possible truth shine through as from a blinding streak of lightning on a dark night. Lurching toward an understanding of Fra Keeler's death, the protagonist wrestles with issues of sanity, madness, life, death, and happiness. This short but substantial novel both celebrates the process of thinking and offers cautions about the perils of our inner monologues. A rare gem of a book that begs to be read again. Agent: Kate Johnson, Georges Borchardt, Inc. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Obsessive. Surreal. Darkly comic. Chilling." Robert Coover
"Obsessive/delightful, Fra Keeler subtly elaborates on life's details, its ordinary lunacies. Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi's observations are droll and often hilarious. Her novel's incidents pile up and on, tilting and shifting under the weight of language's bizarre disturbances. Fra Keeler is wonderfully imaginative, the work of a terrific young writer." Lynne Tillman
"Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the descendent of writers as brilliant and disparate as Max Frisch, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Per Petterson. Fra Keeler is a compelling and humorously associative meditation on how 'one lives against one's dying,' and how that living will be in contra-distinction to all that explains that death on paper after its fact. Would that more book groups read books of this complexity and intelligence; discussion would reach on into the wee hours!" Michelle Latiolais
"In Fra Keeler a mind churns on itself, while reality — if it is reality — comes rushing at it with a strange stutter, everything a bit lost, a bit off, and ready to be ground up further by the uncertain perception of the narrator. This is a book by turns funny and strange, but always entertaining." Brian Evenson
“Oloomi enters so fully and sympathetically into the mad logic of her narrator that scenic detail, chronology, cause and effect, and even such mundane props as cactus, mailman, and ringing phone are bent, doubled, or subsumed by the paranoid geometries of meaning he draws. . . . Subtly menacing, but not without humor, the novel derives momentum and tension from the space between its clear, intelligent language and the absolute unreliability of its narrator.” SLATE
About the Author
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is an Iranian-American writer of fiction and nonfiction. She received her MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and is a recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Catalonia, Spain. She is co-author of the Words Without Borders dispatch series ArtistsTalk: Israel/Palestine and is at work on a second project entitled The Catalan Literary Landscape, an exploration of notions of journey and the intersections between landscape and literature. She currently teaches in the MFA at Notre Dame University and lives in Indiana with her husband.
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