Cover by Claiborne O'Connor
Trade paper -- 240 pp.
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.
Somos en escrito
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
-- 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,
author of A HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
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