Stacey Levine is one of the most interesting writers working in America today, startling and idiosyncratic in the best sense.
Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian
It’s clear that something strange is afoot in Munson, the fictional Florida hamlet where Frances Johnson takes place. A volcano seethes on the outskirts of town, strange animals skitter in the shadows, and a dense brown fog has settled overhead. Pets and people vanish. Unfurling over a period of days leading up to the town’s annual dance, the story follows Frances’s mounting restlessness, as she must decide whether to take control of her life or cede it to the murky future the community has designated for her. Though the novel hinges on a familiar plot pointwill Frances remain in Munson, or escape to the world at large?it’s the only trace of convention to be found in this hypnotic book, which transforms its setting into a tableau of exotic menace.
Stacey Levine ignores lyricism as an evolutionary dead end. Life is fractious and dire, her prose style says; let fiction serve as razor and torch. It’s not that Levine isn’t funny or that she doesn’t forge phrases and sentences of throat-clutching beauty. It’s just that her effort to dissect humankind’s propensity for neuroses, fallacies, and other inanities requires measured drollery and surgical concision.
Levine’s work is, at least technically, “surreal,” but like much of the best writing that maps the borders between dreams and conscious life, its subtle disjunctions create a zone that often feels more real than “reality” itself . . . If it feels like we’ve been here before, underneath this dance floor, gazing up at the townsfolk above, it is not because we’ve seen this landscape in other fictions, but maybe in a half-remembered dream.
|Stacey Levine's web site|