In a rut? Try Joanna Ruocco’s *Dan*

 

dorothy_stampAs our catalog makes obvious, Danielle Dutton and Joanna Ruocco are two of our favorite writers, and publishing their books was all the awesomeness we’d hoped to find in this life. But now the former is publishing a new book by the latter, and it’s like Santa Claus opened up his bag and out popped the Easter Bunny.

Ruocco’s Dan ships for free when you buy direct from Dorothy, a Publishing Project, where you can also buy the whole amazing catalog right now, ten books, for only a hundred dollars (also with free shipping). Nell Zink’s novel The Wallcreeper is fresh off the press along with Joanna’s, joining books by Amina Cain, Renee Gladman, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, et al.

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JOANNA RUOCCO, DAN

Melba Zuzzo, erstwhile innocent of the male-heavy hamlet of Dan, a town located in the foothills of . . . somewhere? . . . finds herself in a rut. In fact she was probably born into this rut, but today, for some reason, she feels suddenly aware of it. Everything is changing, yet nothing is making sense. The people she might rely upon, the habits she should find comforting—everything is off. It’s as if life, which has gone by largely unnoticed up to now, has been silently conspiring against her the whole time.

In Dan, Joanna Ruocco has created a slapstick parable that brings together the restless undercurrents and unabashed campiness of Thomas Pynchon with the meandering imaginative audacity of Raymond Roussel. Either Dan is a state of mind, beyond the reach of any physical map, or else it sits on every map unnoticed, tucked beneath the big red dot that tells us YOU ARE HERE.

“Ruocco has given serious thought to how much she can do with language while still preserving a story’s integrity . . . Modernist-style experimentation ain’t dead yet. Giddy, intriguing stuff from a writer eager to let words misbehave.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Joanna Ruocco is very funny and very serious and very smart and very curious and very good at making stories that map the unmappable wrinkles of the mind.” –LAIRD HUNT

Joanna Ruocco holds an MFA from Brown and a PhD from the University of Denver. She is the author of The Mothering Coven (Ellipses Press, 2009), Man’s Companions (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010), A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (which won the 2009 Noemi Press Fiction Chapbook Contest; judged by Rikki Ducornet) and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych (which won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize; judged by Ben Marcus). She also works pseudonymously as Alessandra Shahbaz (Ghazal in the Moonlight, Midnight Flame) and Toni Jones (No Secrets in Spandex). With Brian Conn, Ruocco co-edits the fiction journal Birkensnake.

Read an excerpt from Dan at The Collagist. Read a review at HTML Giant.