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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.

Theater-State, by Jack Boettcher - eBook Only

rEprint Series Ebooks

Theater-State, by Jack Boettcher - eBook Only

Boettcher - Theater-State - Final Cover.jpg
Boettcher - Theater-State - Final Cover.jpg

Theater-State, by Jack Boettcher - eBook Only

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This is for the eBook only—we do not offer a print version of this book.


“Even though the principal in Boettcher’s Theater-State has a white tiger slumbering in his office, the school that Janus and Katydid and Cassie attend, with Ms. Denton, TX as their teacher, is all too familiar—terrifyingly familiar. The mind-bending cross over between the world of statecraft and a private science academy becomes all too real for Janus . . . when it is revealed that it is drivers that shape the roads and not the other way around. . . . and when the general paranoid lyricism of Boettcher’s odd and compelling novel, like the Mayan ceremonial white roads, leads you not necessarily to a destination but on a journey. It’s an amazing journey. I don’t think you have any choice but to take it.” —Matthew Rohrer Praise


Theater-State reveals the panopticon not as an instrument of surveillance but as a mesmerizing holograph from which we prisoners of ‘reality’ (and of high school) cannot tear our eyes. In this inside-out world, violence is an encircling Megahighway and the center mutable, vulnerable, and virtual, always flowing somewhere else. As young Janus negotiates the heights and sinkholes of adolescence, including an affair with a regional pop-avatar, servitude to a morphing, megalomaniacal principal, and a class project managing a convulsive neocolony, Jack Boettcher’s reticulated sentences themselves contract and unfurl with sometimes enticing, sometimes ensnaring beauty.” —Joyelle McSweeney


Jack Boettcher lives in Austin, Texas. He is the author of the chapbook The Deviants (Greying Ghost), and his writing has appeared in Black Warrior ReviewDIAGRAM, and Puerto del Sol, among others. He has a Norwegian forest cat named Mr. X, but like him the cat is from Mississippi, not Norway.