Additional Book Information
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
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."
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.
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.
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.
Melba is subject to a lot of mansplaining!
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.