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Cover by Claiborne O'Connor
Trade paper -- 240 pp.
ISBN-10:  0-938513-24-9
ISBN-13:  978-0-938513-24-7


available in e-book:
A Novella & 13 Stories
by Gene H. Bell-Villada

Childhood overseas. Trying to find oneself as an artist. Growing up Latino. Music, musicians, and an eccentric musicologist. A statue, a cigarette, a moustache. A nightmarish piano recital. Abortive romances. Loneliness, silence. The problem of fascism. These are among the subjects evoked in this collection of fourteen pieces, which alternate regularly between "straight," realistic stories and more fantastical, "experimental" kinds of narratives. Emotions range from wistful to satirical.

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Atmospheres vary from wholesome to sinister. Settings include San Juan, Philadelphia, Cambridge, Manhattan, Tucson, Berkeley CA and an imaginary isle of silence. In the title piece, the Chicano jazz pianist falls in love with a sorority girl who believes in Ayn Rand. To get in her good graces, he reads all of Rand, and ends up converted - with strange consequences.

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A Word from the Publisher

Is THE PIANIST WHO LIKED AYN RAND minimalist art, or a wicked satire on that material? The stories seem to be about so little, at first, but then the author pulls the reader into very serious considerations of Fascism, assorted kinds of racism, oppression and obsession, including Objectivist Philosophy, existential loneliness and such everyday banalities as campus "abortive romances."

One wonders what those readers who want everything imaginable to happen in a bath of extra adrenalin will make of the stories in THE PIANIST WHO LIKED AYN RAND. But it happens that these stories are about something very important. They're about how we can become content, or make ourselves think we are content, with very little. No wonder the romances are "abortive;" Ayn Rand Memorial Up-front Selfishness can hardly be the basis for pleasurable and lasting human interaction. And the satire sweeps up those thoughtful people, basically of good will, who are completely preoccupied by things that matter very little, while the "public thing" goes down the drain.

"What an inventive, wide-ranging intelligence Gene Bell-Villada possesses! The characters in The Pianist Who Liked Ayn Rand: A Novella and Thirteen Stories leave lasting impressions. Dickie Dickerson's revenge on the library shusher is a tour de force. Jennifer, braceleted in dollar signs, is the Ayn Rand groupie of your wildest nightmares. Bell-Villada treats us to a variety pack of thought-provoking, challenging writing richly layered by the characters' -- and author's -- love and knowledge of music. This wry mixture of political and academic satire, cross cultural observation, media mockery, and love story offers the reader a high caloric feast."
-- Mameve Medwed, author of MAIL

"Readers who appreciate wit, an offbeat perspective, and a biting look at the blind spots in U.S. culture will greatly enjoy this volume. From the comic misperception of a young gringo growing up in Puerto Rico, to the tragic romance of a Chicano pianist with the ideas of Ayn Rand, these stories can help us to see -- and laugh at -- the dark side of the American dream. I particularly enjoyed The Duck Hunter,' an acidly funny takeoff on the film, The Deer Hunter, showing the absurd, desperate way in which America has tried to rewrite its role in Vietnam."
-- Rachel Kranz, Artistic Director,
Theater of Necessity, New York

"This concert of fictive pieces will satisfy readers hungry for satire anchored in an opinioned sensibility. Bell-Villada writes with clarity and picaresque charm on the thorny issues of recent decades, be they familial, ethnic, sexual, artistic or political. Moreover, his authorial presence seems a sort of personified, elan vital that brings selected pasts with it through many presents, heading, perhaps, for some unknown future. Don't miss the eerie elegance and violent perversity of 'A Report on a Concert.' Poe's ghost walks again! I have long enjoyed conversing with Bell-Villada's works, but never more than with these true fictions."
-- Patricia Wilcox, poet,

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