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TNB Fiction TNB FICTION is proud to showcase book excerpts and original short fiction from some of the finest writers in the world.

Features have included work by Etgar Keret, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, Jennifer Egan, Bret Easton Ellis, Aimee Bender, Antonya Nelson, and hundreds of other internationally acclaimed and emerging writers. Spotlighting a recent book release each week, TNB Fiction helps bring awareness of new literary fiction, from both trade and independent publishers, to readers around the world, providing a global, free-access arena for spotlighting the genre in an era of shrinking coverage among mainstream print publications. TNB Fiction has its finger on the pulse of a vibrant new generation of writers, as well as established literary greats whose work continues to shape the future dialogue of literary culture.

Fiction Editor GINA FRANGELLO is the author of three books of fiction: My Sister's Continent (Chiasmus); Slut Lullabies (Emergency Press); and A Life in Men (forthcoming from Algonquin Books). She is also the co-founder and Executive Editor of the independent press, Other Voices Books, and the Sunday Editor at The Rumpus.

J. RYAN STRADAL is the assistant fiction editor of The Nervous Breakdown. His writing has also appeared in Hobart, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Rattling Wall, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Trop, and Joyland, among other places. He lives in Los Angeles, where he volunteers at 826LA, helps create products and materials for the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, and sometimes works on TV shows.

Recent Work By TNB Fiction

Who do I dream of, if I do not dream of Sylvie? In whose arms do I imagine myself, if not in hers? In whose embrace do I slumber in my most precious heart?

She was my only. No crush or boyfriend could compete. She was the beginning and end of my experience with falling in love.

Alena Graedon by Beowulf SheehanDid you know that some parts of your novel are hard to understand? I’ve heard it’s your first, and I thought I should tell you so that you can fix that for the next one.

You’re right. Sorry about that. There are some pretty obscure words in the book, like “dulcarnon” and “panicles.” Partly, it’s because the narrators work together at a dictionary, so they come across words that the rest of us don’t, and sometimes they use them. It’s also, though, because one of the protagonists is reading a dictionary while she writes her account.

WE 3D v2A           

Al•ice /a-lEs/ n : a girl transformed by reflection

On a cold and lonely Friday last November, my father disappeared from the Dictionary. And not only from the big, glass building on Broadway where its offices were housed. On that night, my father, Douglas Samuel Johnson, Chief Editor of the North American Dictionary of the English Language, slipped from the actual artifact he’d helped compose.

That was before the Dictionary died, letters expiring on the page. Before the virus. Before our language dissolved like so much melting snow. It was before I nearly lost everything I love.

JLportrait4So you’ve written a novel called “The Geometry of Love.” Sounds like a love story.

That’s right, it is.

 

What does geometry have to do with love?

There’s a love triangle in the story that turns into another love triangle. The protagonist, Julia, has to choose between two men. Then the man she longs to be with has to choose between her and another woman. So there are two connected triangles, as it were.

GeometryOfLove_FinalCoverWebIn his ground-floor office on Ninth Street, Frank McCloud, LAc (licensed acupuncturist), stood next to me, staring off into space as he took my pulses. Thin and straight, he incarnated health and longevity. Walking in, I expected a preliminary medical interview, but instead he directed me right onto a treatment table. The gentle koto music in the background (Japanese) didn’t quite jive with the scrolls on the wall (Tibetan) or the silk jacket he wore (Chinese), but the general Asian effect was soothing.

For reasons having to do with great embarrassment and no small measure of sadness, two of the people in this accounting will be referred to only by their initials.  A lot of people find that annoying, but then some people find an ice cream truck going by their house on a summer evening annoying.

So.

It was at the age of thirty that C. first became aware of the weight of his head.

Sam’s co-worker Carla is talking about her three-year-old son Rico’s obsession with death. “He says to me, ‘Mama, I don’t want to die. I really, really don’t want to die.’”

AuthorPhoto_TomSpanbauerSo Tom, you have the EOB blues once again, yah? 

Some people call it a nervous breakdown. I call it EOB, End of Book. What else can you feel really, when you’ve created an entire world, created characters you loved, went to places you didn’t know existed, languished in these places. The fictional world is always more important, more dramatic, more real than ordinary life, your ordinary life.

Cover_ILovedYouMoreThe Maroni

What I’d like to do now is take the opportunity. To say what I couldn’t even think that Wednesday evening in Jeske’s class, 1985. The scariest thing about myself. If I were to have spoken it out loud.

I was impotent.

By that time of my life, my thirty-seventh year – heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, top or bottom, threesomes, orgies with men and women, with a whip in my hand or chained to the radiator, whatever way two or more people can get together sexually. Drunk or stoned or otherwise fucked up. Hell, even when it was just me alone stone cold sober.

I couldn’t get it up.

We were both eighteen but Rebecca was hopelessly naïve. She talked about her crush, Brother Matthew, with an unbridled enthusiasm I hadn’t seen since middle school. The first time he flirted with her, she told me the story like her life was never going to be the same.

When he was “babysitting” Rebecca and her brother one night, Matthew opted to join her on the couch instead of sitting alone on the love seat. The babysitting thing was pretty ridiculous considering that Rebecca was old enough to menstruate, drive and even vote, though as a Jehovah’s Witness, she never would.

Tortilla

On Thursday Nights I take a class at the Junior College.  Philosophy 101.  I know, I know, you’re supposed to call them Community Colleges, but they’ve only been Community Colleges for, oh, maybe fifteen years.  For thirty years I knew it as East L.A. Junior College.  It still sounds better to me.  Looking up is better than looking down.

Megan-Milks-Kill-Marguerite-author-pic-web“Milks.” That’s a funny name. Are you a funny person?

Nope. Not even going to deliver an anti-joke here. But I’m interested in comedy, for sure, especially the comedic grotesque and “stupid” writing. My fiction definitely has a sly side. Lots of deadpan humor, the occasional very bad pun. Plus talking insects, acts of gods, and winkingly insincere morals.

Kill-Marguerite-Megan-Milks-webLevel One: The Rope Swing

BEGIN>> So they are at the rope swing, swinging. The rope swing is this dinky little wooden seat knotted onto a long rope that hangs from a sturdy big tree branch and it swoops back and forth over Swift Creek Reservoir, and you can stand on the seat or sit or whatever. Some of the boys even climb up the rope while it’s swinging because they’re showoffs like that. And there is Caty in her jean shorts and old New Kids on the Block t-shirt getting Hot and Heavy with Alex on the rope swing, at least she guesses that this is what that means.

Kim ChurchHas anyone told you that you misspelled the title of your novel?

My family, when we were together over Christmas. I reminded them it’s only my first book; what did they expect?

 

If you could read your book to anyone in the world, who would it be?

My grandmother, if she were still living. We would sit at her kitchen table and I’d read to her, short bits, just as she used to dictate to me. For years, I was her scrivener. One afternoon every week, I wrote letters for her. She had terrible arthritis and it pained her to write.

ByrdUp on the Roof

Roland is making a picnic. He has never made a picnic for anyone. It’s not even a word he uses: picnic.

On his counter, blueberry smoothies and crinkle-cut fries from his favorite stand on the beach, plus everything from his kitchen: a can of peaches, half a bottle of white Zinfandel, and two hard-boiled eggs, which he peels and mashes into a bowl with salt and pepper. Then there’s the barbecue Addie brought with her from North Carolina: hickory-smoked shoulder meat sliced thin, packed on dry ice in her little travel cooler. Slaw, too, and sauce, the thin red tomatoey kind they grew up on. You can’t get sauce like this in California.