Joanna Ruocco

Joanna Ruocco is the author of Man’s Companions from Tarpaulin Sky, as well as A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), and Dan (Dorothy, a Publishing Project).

Joanna Ruocco

Joanna Ruocco is the author of Man’s Companions from Tarpaulin Sky, as well as A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), and Dan (Dorothy, a Publishing Project).

Man’s Companions
by Joanna Ruocco

Short Fictions. 144 pages. Paperback. 2010.

The fictions in Man’s Companions are mongrel, troubling the genus of story with miscegenations and mutations, and at the heart of the book is the figure of the anima non grata, the unwanted woman, a degraded version of man. Using language by turns digressive, obsessive, overblown, romantic, fickle, and mundane, Man’s Companions manipulates feminine tropes and finds a kind of joyous liberty in its proliferation of thwarted affairs and awkward interludes.

Man’s Companions
by Joanna Ruocco

Short Fictions. 144 pages. Paperback. 2010.

The fictions in Man’s Companions are mongrel, troubling the genus of story with miscegenations and mutations, and at the heart of the book is the figure of the anima non grata, the unwanted woman, a degraded version of man. Using language by turns digressive, obsessive, overblown, romantic, fickle, and mundane, Man’s Companions manipulates feminine tropes and finds a kind of joyous liberty in its proliferation of thwarted affairs and awkward interludes.

A marvelous sequence of linked stories deftly portraying those animals inside of us which long ago tracked down and ate our inner child. A wry book that combines the obsessive music of Lydia Davis and the stripped precision of Muriel Spark, Man’s Companions is not to be missed. (Brian Evenson) Reading this work I imagine what it must have been like for people reading Donald Barthelme for the first time, that fully formed stylist suddenly sprung as if from nothing, this vision or version of the world that is our world and also isn’t – it’s wonderful and peculiar and radiant and much funnier and maybe a little bit sadder. Each of Ruocco’s tales is its own little triumph. (Danielle Dutton) Warped from one world to another. (David Carroll Simon, The NationThirty-one brief, clever tales … underscore absurdities in the human species…. Ruocco’s understated humor and irony have a playful, experimental appeal. (Publishers Weekly) Ruocco is consistently inventive. She tilts the world as we know it, challenging our senses. With stories that average just a couple of pages, the brevity of Ruocco’s pieces makes it easy to zip through them—don’t. Don’t even read them in sequence. Each will stand alone, and will probably stand taller that way. (Hana Park, TriQuarterlyEarly Lydia Davis seems not unfairly applicable, as does Amy Hempel, not merely for their separately singular abilities to convey a tremendous amount of information and a great emotional range with an economy of text, but also for the alternately insouciant and piercingly human wit with which they do so. (Ben Gottlieb, Art + Culture) Every time I set the book down or even closed the cover, I had to go back for more, unable to tear myself completely away. These stories by Ruocco necessitate time and re-reading, making this short volume well worth exploration. (Kevin Kane, Word Riot

A marvelous sequence of linked stories deftly portraying those animals inside of us which long ago tracked down and ate our inner child. A wry book that combines the obsessive music of Lydia Davis and the stripped precision of Muriel Spark, Man’s Companions is not to be missed. (Brian Evenson) Reading this work I imagine what it must have been like for people reading Donald Barthelme for the first time, that fully formed stylist suddenly sprung as if from nothing, this vision or version of the world that is our world and also isn’t – it’s wonderful and peculiar and radiant and much funnier and maybe a little bit sadder. Each of Ruocco’s tales is its own little triumph. (Danielle Dutton) Warped from one world to another. (David Carroll Simon, The NationThirty-one brief, clever tales … underscore absurdities in the human species…. Ruocco’s understated humor and irony have a playful, experimental appeal. (Publishers Weekly) Ruocco is consistently inventive. She tilts the world as we know it, challenging our senses. With stories that average just a couple of pages, the brevity of Ruocco’s pieces makes it easy to zip through them—don’t. Don’t even read them in sequence. Each will stand alone, and will probably stand taller that way. (Hana Park, TriQuarterlyEarly Lydia Davis seems not unfairly applicable, as does Amy Hempel, not merely for their separately singular abilities to convey a tremendous amount of information and a great emotional range with an economy of text, but also for the alternately insouciant and piercingly human wit with which they do so. (Ben Gottlieb, Art + Culture) Every time I set the book down or even closed the cover, I had to go back for more, unable to tear myself completely away. These stories by Ruocco necessitate time and re-reading, making this short volume well worth exploration. (Kevin Kane, Word Riot

Joanna Ruocco in the Media

JOIN US at AWP 2017

Tarpaulin Sky Press joins Action Books, Calamari Archive, and Per Second Press. Featuring Aaron Apps, Amy King, Nat Baldwin, Claire Donato, Johannes Goransson, Elizabeth Hall, Brandon Hobson, Valerie Hsiung, Robert Lopez, Vi Khi Nao, Julie Reverb, Joanna Ruocco, and Abe Smith.

Joanna Ruocco interviewed at BOMB

Ruocco discusses all her "literary" works (blah blah blah) -- *Man's Companions* (TS 2010) among them -- but to our throbbing delight, she also offers a peak into her blossoming pseudonymous career(s) as romance writers Toni Jones (*No Secrets in Spandex*) and Alessandra Shahbaz (*Midnight Flame*), which makes us swoon -- and also makes us wonder why we haven't already launched a genre imprint.

In a rut? Try Joanna Ruocco’s *Dan*

As 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.

The Nation features Joanna Ruocco and Man's Companions

The Nation features Joanna Ruocco and *Man's Companions*, from Tarpaulin Sky Press: "Ruocco delivers something stranger than banal moralizing. In the final paragraph, she steers the narrative into foreign territory, and the weirdness of her conclusion is doubled by her ability to meet and then flout expectations with a single gesture, offering up the anticipated feminist insights in the least predictable fashion.... Ruocco restores the power of a familiar critique by rendering it uncanny..... When you read her stories, you find yourself warped from one world to another, transported by the flight of her words between languages."

TriQuarterly reviews Joanna Ruocco's Man's Companions

At TriQuarterly, Hanna Park reviews Joanna Ruocco's *Man's Companions* (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010): "A keen manipulation of ordinary experiences into strange, funny, lovely, uncomfortable truths.... Ruocco is consistently inventive. She tilts the world as we know it, challenging our senses."

Joanna Ruocco's Man's Companions reviewed at Word Riot

At Word Riot, Kevin Kane reviews Joanna Ruocco's *Man's Companions*: "Powerful and compact.... The story collection presents short tales that pleasantly sated my hunger. Yet, every time I set the book down or even closed the cover, I had to go back for more, unable to tear myself completely away. These stories by Ruocco necessitate time and re-reading, making this short volume well worth exploration."

Art + Culture reviews Joanna Ruocco's Man's Companions

Ben Gottlieb, writing for Art + Culture, reviews Joanna Ruoco's *Man's Companions*, from Tarpaulin Sky Press: "Early Lydia Davis seems not unfairly applicable, as does Amy Hempel, not merely for their separately singular abilities to convey a tremendous amount of information and a great emotional range with an economy of text, but also for the alternately insouciant and piercingly human wit with which they do so."

Publishers Weekly reviews Joanna Ruocco's Man's Companions

Publishers Weekly reviews Joanna Ruocco's *Man's Companions* (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010): "Thirty-one brief, clever tales from the author of The Mothering Coven employ traits from the animal kingdom to underscore absurdities in the human species. 'Lemmings,' for example, features a desultory dialogue between two lovers who debate the better 'iconic' location to jump from—the Space Needle or the Empire State Building. . . . Satisfyingly developed.... The nuttily obtuse 'Flying Monkeys,' [features] a rarely intersecting conversation between two women onboard an airplane that reveals how the women—former best friends who happen to sit next to each other—can't stand each other. . . . Ruocco's understated humor and irony have a playful, experimental appeal."