FIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND A FICTION by Lucius Shepard. Dust jacket by J. K. Potter. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press; 2013. 1st trade hardcover edition.
Length: 368 pages.
Five Autobiographies and a Fiction, the long-awaited new collection from master storyteller Lucius Shepard, is a significant publishing event, a volume equal in every way to such earlier Shepard classics as The Jaguar Hunter and The Dragon Griaule. Its six long stories offer narrative pleasures as diverse and profound as anything to be found in modern imaginative fiction.
“Ditch Witch,” set in rural Oregon, concerns a young man on the run in a stolen car, a hitchhiker who may or may not have witch-like powers, and the bizarre inhabitants of the seemingly innocuous Elfland Motel. “The Flock” is a tale of high school football and small town malaise set against an impossible intrusion from the natural world. A washed-up actor and a Malaysian “woman of power” stand at the center of “Vacancy,” the account of a man forced to confront the very real demons of his past. “Dog-eared Paperback of My Life” follows a writer (Thomas Cradle) on his erotically charged journey down the Mekong River, a journey enveloped in a maze of multiple, interpenetrating realities. “Halloween Town” tells the story of a small, extremely strange town and one of its denizens, Clyde Ormoloo, a man who sees too deeply into the “terrible incoherence” of human affairs. The final story, “Rose Street Attractors,” takes us into 19th century London and the heart of the steampunk era—in the richly atmospheric tale of a most unusual haunting. Rounding out this generous volume is an Introdution in which Shepard offers a startlingly frank assessment of his own troubled adolescence, identifying the “alternate versions” of himself that appear in these pages and illuminating those points at which fiction and “near-autobiography” converge.
Lyrical, brutal, and always powerfully composed, Five Autobiographies and a Fiction is something special. Each of these six novellas speaks in its own distinctive voice. Each one takes us into the heart of a thoroughly imagined world. Only Lucius Shepard could have created those worlds. Only Lucius Shepard could have given us this book.
Trade: Fully cloth bound trade hardcover.
Table of Contents:
◦ Ditch Witch
◦ The Flock
◦ Dog-Eared Paperback of My Life
◦ Halloween Town
◦ Rose Street Attractors
From Publishers Weekly:
“Nebula winner Shepard (Life During Wartime) often steers his fiction toward faraway shores, but the bulk of this collection directly targets the American heartland. A painfully confessional introduction sets the stage for five ‘autobiographies’—might-have-been stories exploring facets of the author’s personal journey… This honestly titled collection deals well and satisfyingly with deep truths.”
“Lucius Shepard’s new collection Five Autobiographies and a Fiction is required reading for fans of the author. People who have never read anything by Shepard may love it too, but because of the specific nature of this set of stories, it’ll definitely have more impact on readers who are familiar with the author. If that's you, I’d go as far as saying that this is nothing less than a must-read, because it will dramatically change and enrich your understanding of the author and his works.”
Fine in fine dj.