Synopses & Reviews
A twisted reimagining of Theseus and the Minotaur from veteran author Lance Olsen
Dreamlives of Debris is a hybrid retelling of the Theseus and Minotaur myth. Here the Minotaur is a little deformed girl — she calls herself Debris — hidden away from public view in the labyrinth beneath Knossos. She possesses the ability to hear the flood of thoughts and see the flood of memories, desires, and futures of others throughout history from Herodotus and Pliny to Borges and Edward Snowden.
Her labyrinth takes the form of an impossible liquid architecture bearing no center and hence no discernible perimeter. Dreamlives of Debris explores such impossible architecture as a way of knowing — an extended metaphor for our current sense of lived experience: the feeling, for instance, of being awash in massive, networked data fields that may lead everywhere and nowhere at once. The lyrical narrative takes the form of a collage composed of multiple voices and genres from multiple time periods.
"Dreamlives of Debris is a stunning song cycle on the pixelation of memory in a hyperdigitalized universe, opening out into an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful meditation on nothing less than the erasure of time itself." David Shields, author of Reality Hunger
"Like the minotaur it invokes, Lance Olsen's Dreamlives of Debris is a great hybrid creature, surprising and mysterious and imbued with new power. Perhaps born of such parents as Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red and Ben Marcus' Age of Wire and String, Olsen's novel is finally entirely its own brilliant monster: courageous with the inexhaustibility of its myth, unfettered by the usual conventions of linear storytelling, destined to challenge and change any reader brave enough to delve its fantastic labyrinth of language." Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
"Lance Olsen opens up an astonishing world of thought and emotion — a place distant but familiar that hangs almost out of the reach of our daily perception. A place we have only glimpsed at moments. A world that we have longed for all along, and have nearly forgotten. Through Olsen's magic and fragments and echoes this world comes back in uncanny and haunting ways. A beautiful and moving reading experience, Dreamlives of Debris is a unique and impressive achievement." Carole Maso, author of Mother & Child
"Olsen finds a new spin on one of the oldest stories out there, illuminating some of the more horrific aspects and pressing questions of the modern world." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, such as Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Fiction International, Village Voice, BOMB, McSweeney’s and Best American Non-Required Reading. A Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, D.A.A.D. Artist-in-Berlin Residency, N.E.A. Fellowship, and Pushcart Prize recipient, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, he teaches at the University of Utah and serves as chair of the Board of Directors at the independent press Fiction Collective Two.