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Book Launch

November 23, 2021

We’ll be officially launching The Bourgeois Anarchist on November 30, 2021, via Zoom, at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Being a taciturn curmudgeon, I’m extremely lucky to be joined by Elizabeth (Libby) Mosier, an extraordinary writer who’s a much better conversationalist than I am. Most likely, Libby will ask intelligent questions to which I will give confused, nonsensical answers. It should be fun!

To witness this spectacle, and maybe ask questions of your own, you have to register in advance for the Zoom link. The event will be hosted by our friends at Main Point Books in Wayne, PA, which is offering signed copies of the book.

Blurred Choices

November 17, 2021

Ellen Prentiss Campbell, an award-winning fiction writer and member of the National Book Critics Circle, has kindly reviewed The Bourgeois Anarchist in Tiferet Journal. Throughout the novella, she notes, “the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, blur”–proving she firmly grasped the book’s main theme.

Though the magazine is available by subscription only, I can offer a quote from the end of the piece, summarizing her take on the 66-year-old protagonist, Susie Alioto:

Susie is an irresistible force. Readers, especially those of a certain age, aficionados of Anne Tyler’s quirky heroines, will enjoy Susie. She carries the baggage of years of living and experience with almost reckless, youthful abandon. And begins to reckon with some skeletons in her own closet and to figure out what’s next.

You can purchase the novella on Bookshop.org.

Out of My Shell

November 5, 2021

Over the past couple of months, in an attempt to promote my novella The Bourgeois Anarchist (Finishing Line Press), I’ve done three interviews with obliging bloggers. They were fun, especially when I could give a subversive answer to the questions. Here are the links, with a few selected quotes:

Hasty Book List, by Ashley Hasty:

Q: Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with:

A: Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I might try, with no luck, to woo her away from Darcy. More to the point, she’d understand how to get us out of the elevator.

Q: Place I’d most like to travel:

A: Berkeley, CA, where I went to college. I’d like to connect somehow with the idealist I was then, though it’s probably impossible.

Linda’s Book Bag, by Linda Hill:

Q: What can we expect from an evening in with The Bourgeois Anarchist?

A: You’ll fall in love with Susie [the protagonist], I can almost guarantee it. She’s tremendously good-hearted, an idealist, and about ten times as tough as you’d guess from her diminutive size. And yet she gets entangled in a situation that proves almost too much for her.

The plot includes arsonists, mobsters, sleazy cops and life-threatening violence, but the real focus is Susie’s conflicting loyalties and difficult moral choices. She’s long been an anarchist, at least theoretically—she spent two decades in a militant commune—but now her principles leave her floundering in her time of need. You might say the quandary involves her head versus her heart, but her head is on both sides, and her emotions are flipping about like butterflies.

Jerry’s Circumlocution, by Jerry Harwood

Q: What does literary success look like to you?

A: Groupies! But where are they? Why don’t I have any?

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Okay, that’s enough silliness for one post. Check out the links if you want more.

Susie Hits the Streets

August 22, 2021

No, Susie Alioto, protagonist of The Bourgeois Anarchist, hasn’t taken to prostitution. As a lifelong, principled anarchist, she would support anyone’s freedom to choose that profession but, for herself, would eschew any hint of trading sex for capitalist compensation. In the novella, oddly, she may find herself in such a situation unwittingly. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

What I meant by the headline “hits the streets” is that the book is finally published. It’s available on capitalist Amazon, less capitalist Bookshop.org, and elsewhere. Because I’m a klutz at publicity, Susie has to get out there and shill for herself. If you see her hawking the book on a street corner, be kind and toss her a nickel.

So far I have managed to do one interview on her behalf, published today on Hasty Book List by Ashley Hasty. Though I’d rather hide under the sofa than do an interview, this one wasn’t too bad. In a sense it represents my coming out. I reveal myself as a fashion leader and also as a long-time devotee of Jane Austen. The latter, at least, may be rather shameful for a hetero male writer, but I don’t care, I’ll flaunt it.

Years ago, when I was working on my novel The Shame of What We Are, very loosely based on my own childhood, I had the teenage male protagonist reading Jane Austen. Early readers, especially female friends, told me that was implausible, so I switched his literary interest to Isaac Asimov, whom I had also read as a teen. Jane was miffed at being left out, so now in this post, and in the linked interview, I’m trying to make it up to her.

An anecdote to show the silliness of my devotion: At some point I had checked out a hardcover edition of Pride and Prejudice from my local library, and I refused to return it. When the library tried to fine me, I even perjured myself by arguing that the missing book was their mistake. I can still picture my skinny little self lying to the fearsome, and much taller, lady librarian, who loomed over me behind her Counter of Authority. There was nothing special about that edition: its cover a plain blue or green, a library binding stamped on the spine only. But I may still have it—and I won’t give it back.