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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.

The Spectacle of the Body, by Noy Holland

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The Spectacle of the Body, by Noy Holland


The Spectacle of the Body, by Noy Holland

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Noy Holland’s debut story collection, containing nine stories that evoke the differences between evil and good, between what is real and dreamlike, and do so with an incredible eye toward the language used, constantly pushing the boundaries of what her readers might expect.


From Publishers Weekly

Strange, glittering, incantatory language marks Holland's debut short-fiction collection. These odd, occasionally impenetrable pieces were not written for narrative addicts; though certain events do occur, they are seen only hazily through a mesmerizing--and sometimes fustian--web of words and style. In "Orbit," a brother and sister offer alternating impressionistic accounts of the summer when their father abandoned their dying mother, leaving them alone on the family farm. Looping, cadenced sentences ("I did not have shoes. I did not have Bingo with me going there or coming back, and coming back I came by foot and I did not have shoes.") convey the anarchic rhythms of this macabre idyll. "Delicious," a disturbing exploration of the undercurrents of--among other things--the relationship between a waitress and a restaurant customer, is narrated almost entirely in wickedly accurate restaurant lingo. The brief but chilling "Winter Bodies" concerns a ritual act--possibly a highly personal sort of last rite--carried out by a man upon the drugged-out and/or diseased body of his lover. "The Change in Union City," one of the collection's more accessible stories, is the chronicle of the declining fortunes of a small town and its most colorful, vital inhabitant. If they can get past the gothic excess, sophisticated readers will enjoy the challenge of these provocative, nearly hypnotic stories. 
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this debut work of fiction, a young author from Alabama is able to capture with startling clarity the lives of the characters in her stories. Her nine stories deal honestly with everyday life situations, especially those that are agonizing. Holland is especially dazzling in stories based on her own mother's long, painful death, as in "Orbit," which eloquently details all the hardships a family must go through: "I could not hear her. I saw her talking. Mother for hours made sounds with her mouth in a voice not as loud as breathing. I leaned my head close. I felt her breathing. She was saying thank you. All along, she was saying thank you." Holland, who grew up in Mexico and Kentucky, effectively portrays a wide range of different characters. Her enchanting prose style and her realism make this suitable for all libraries.
Vicki Cecil, Johnson Cty. Lib., Greenwood, Ind.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Noy Holland’s collections of short fiction and novellas include The Spectacle of the Body(Knopf) What begins with bird (FC2) and Swim for the Little One First, forthcoming from FC2. She has published work in ConjunctionsThe QuarterlyMilan ReviewBlack Warrior ReviewThe BelieverNOONNew York Tyrant, and Post Road, among others. She was a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for artistic merit and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.