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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

By the Light of the Jukebox, by Dean Paschal

rEprint Series Ebooks

By the Light of the Jukebox, by Dean Paschal

Paschal - By the Light of the Jukebox - Cover - Final.jpg
Paschal - By the Light of the Jukebox - Cover - Final.jpg

By the Light of the Jukebox, by Dean Paschal

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An unusual first collection of fiction from a truly original and gifted Southern writer, the stories gathered here are wonderfully imaginative, erotically charged, and unforgettable. Dean Paschal explores a variety of different worlds, like that of “Sautéing the Platygast,” where evolution and the culinary arts have run amok, or the hospital emergency room of “Genesis” visited by a badly hemorrhaging drug addict. Elsewhere, a clockwork maiden seduces a mechanically inclined boy, and a woman metamorphosed into a python relives some of the erotic moments of her previous life.


“Shocking, inscrutable, and sometimes wise, these unusual stories dredge the murky depths of the psyche. Paschal’s prose is compelling, and he skillfully presents his characters as sympathetic, despite their bizarre behavior. Strange though they may be, Paschal’s protagonists aren’t caricatures; they are believable personae, whose logic operates on premises different from the norm.” —Booklist

“The horror in these stories would be almost unbearable, I think, were the prose not so luminous. Unnerving and brilliant.” —Pinckney Benedict

“There is danger, precision and real poetry in Dean Paschal’s work, elements that combine to make By the Light of the Jukebox an exciting and memorable debut. What Gide once said of Celine is equally true of Paschal: ‘It is not reality that he paints but the hallucination that reality provokes.’” —Richard Burgin

By the Light of the Jukebox is an astonishing fiction debut. These stories of Dean Paschal are alternately tender and demonic, heartrending and chilling. No more disturbing first collection of American short fiction has been published in recent decades.” —Joyce Carol Oates


Dean Paschal lives in New Orleans where he is an emergency room physician. His stories have been extensively anthologized, including in Best American Short StoriesThe Pushcart Prize AnthologyNorton’s New Sudden FictionThe Surreal South and various websites.