Read an Excerpt from Adam Novy’s Work in Progress, The Gore and the Splatter

Books, Literature, Writers

Hobart has published an excerpt of Adam Novy’s work in progress, The Gore and Splatter. I was a big fan of Adam’s last novel, The Avian Gospels, a dystopian take on terror and gypsies and birds. When I interviewed Adam a few years ago, he told me he was “writing a novel about the life and times of Medusa. It’s called The Gore and the Splatter. Ryan Chang got a bit more info about the novel in his interview with Adam, posted yesterday at Electric Literature:

I’m working on a novel about Perseus and Medusa before they get discovered. The early days of Perseus and Medusa. It takes place partially in mythic Greece and partially the suburb I grew up in. The characters are in the middle of mythic history. One thing about mythology I’ve always been really interested is what the characters know about their place and time in history. There’s this idea that the world is new and folks are creating meaning as they go along. Do they know they’re creating meaning? And what would it be like to be a teenager under those circumstances? Or a parent raising those teenagers, what would it be like?

I’m looking forward to this one. Until then we have the excerpt. Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:

Pentheus’s bedroom: hardly large enough to fit his mattress, a modest trunk of clothes, a wooden torso on a stick that wore his armor while he slept, and an altar to Athena. The floorplanks creaked, the roof leaked water, porous walls keened in wind. He’d let his mother and his nephews have the bedrooms with the windows. The den was also small, and too close to the kitchen for these rooms to be considered separate entities, and this house, such as it was, sat unevenly on pylons of old concrete, for the ground was a decline of dirt and sand on a rambling scrappy hillside, where any rugged vegetables that flourished in the desperate little gardens were scavengered immediately by rabbits.

The bungalow wasn’t quite dysfunctional, merely ugly, small, grotty, and way beyond the prospect of improvement. Still, the sneaky sisters Casey and Arden enjoyed their lives in an unfairly lavish home, and the house where the miraculous atrocity had happened, with the river and the tree, was nigh short of a mansion, if an ugly, nouveau, tasteless one. Perhaps whoever’d lived there had been killed for being vulgar. Pentheus had been working in a lumber yard adjacent to The Turnbull Farm—a huge, efficient version of the farm where Casey and Arden lived—when Mister Reddy heard that he was tall and took him on as his assistant. Your feet are very big, he’d said, you’ll leave a large carbon footprint. Pentheus thought he’d caught his golden opportunity, but all he got to do was walk beside the boss in heavy armor, sweat until he felt that he would rot, follow incoherent orders and let teenage girls humiliate him. And the pay was just as crappy as the lumber yard. Agave, his own mother, was a maid for Mister Turnbull. She was sixty-eight years old, but still she cooked, scrubbed the floor, washed stains from the clothes of messy children whose privilege didn’t exactly translate into manners. Pentheus and Agave paid their rent to Mister Reddy, who was Mister Turnbull’s partner, though Mister Reddy and Mister Turnbull also paid their salaries. Pentheus and his mother were little more than conduits for money as it looped its way inexorably back to whence it came. Jayden, Pentheus’s nephew, had said they were a kind of large intestine, where food was turned to shit and got excreted without their being able to enjoy it. Pentheus sometimes wished the boy was less articulate.

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