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Additional Book Information

Series: Dorothy
ISBN: 9780989760720
Pages: 152
Publication Date: October 1, 2014

From Dorothy


by Joanna Ruocco

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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.


Joanna Ruocco's Dan is a tiny novel that packs a massive punch.

Ruocco spins unusual shapes out of language, but not because her interests are narrowly linguistic. By reshaping language, she redefines the world it conjures forth. Her fiction so often flirts with the fantastic perhaps because she understands that when language stops operating according to its ordinary rules, it creates an alternate reality, swerving away from what normally counts as "real."
The Nation

Ruocco is consistently inventive. She tilts the world as we know it, challenging our senses.

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

Ruocco's work is cutting-edge, pushing the established tropes within contemporary fiction, calling her readers to interpret and examine the nuances of seemingly everyday life.
Publishers Weekly

Dan is a town. A town among mountains, a town with a formerly bustling hosiery district, a town where doctors don’t believe in horses and principals go missing while seeking answers in the school basement. But what is Dan really? That is the question at the heart of Joanna Roucco’s unsettling (and laugh-out-loud funny) novel, told through a dizzying series of interactions, which themselves conjure memories of other interactions, which themselves often conjure even deeper memories still.
Electric Lit

Melba is subject to a lot of mansplaining!
Full Stop

Ruocco has an ear for sparkling absurdist dialogue and a sense of timing almost unmatched in contemporary American fiction . . . [Dan] is profoundly strange, but as readable and logical as the writing of Lewis Carroll.
The Literary Review

Like a skeleton key Ruocco has found combinations to unlock more doors then we knew we had. If for nothing else, read Dan for the sentences, and the way the words rub up against each other, placed so perfectly that you know they could not have otherwise been arranged.
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