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RE: "Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories" (2011) — Black Rider Press [Jul. 8th, 2011|07:54 pm]
[Current Location |Melbourne, Australia]
[mood |productive]
[music |"Blood Bank" — Bon Iver]


Plot appraisal:

The titular work of Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories is not a story at all, but a novella, and concerns the Rabelaisian exploits of one Efim Barnum Bank Zaslavsky — a Russian-Jewish carnival exhibitionist — and his anachronistic, wandering gypsy caravan as they pursue a potentially non-existent wolf, and peddle the wares of their particular breed of sideshow throughout contemporary Japan.

However, the many pieces which bookend Carnivalesque are just as phantasmagoric in their content as they are in their execution: we bear witness to an alternative Ireland whose empires of progress have devolved into a feudal shōgunate of thieves and bureaucrats; we trace a prodigal son’s melancholy return to the leafy climes of suburban Melbourne; we observe an underwater scuffle in the control room of a submarine at a depth of 130 feet; we accompany the author and his family on an emotionally cathartic trip to the beach, and in the process are introduced — of course — to Jesus Christ, J.D. Salinger, a Native Canadian named Blue Bluff Crow, the President of the United States of America and the spectre of Death.

Whores, celebrities, scoundrels, butchers, swindlers, painters, ghosts, marine biologists, lumberjacks, dwarves, mermaids, bogmen, and a professional boxer in metamorphosis are just a few of those populating the pages of this stylistically carnivalesque vision into a world familiar to us all, but at one stage removed. This is a rich, riotous world of heartbroken sinners and first-time saints.


Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories
Black Rider Press (November, 2011)

Cover design: tonne gramme
Photography: Danny Khoo

ISBN: 978-1-61061-074-2
Dewey Number: A823.4
RRP: AUD $21.95


¶ Purchase Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories online from Black Rider Press

¶ Purchase Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories online from Readings Booksellers

¶ Pre-order details for purchasing Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories published at the up-to-date Black Rider Lines weblog

Event details for the book's Brisbane launch at Avid Reader Bookshop and Café

Facebook invite to attend the Brisbane launch at Avid Reader Bookshop and Café

¶ A media release published at the up-to-date Black Rider Lines weblog

¶ A preface for Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories entitled, "These Kids Today, David Foster Wallace & a Reflection on Style — With A Score by Beirut", published at the up-to-date Black Rider Lines weblog

¶ An Interview with Kirk Marshall by David F. Hoenigman published at Word Riot

¶ Reviews and star ratings of Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories published on Goodreads

¶ Copies of Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories are available to borrow from the Brisbane City Council Libraries

¶ Copies of Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories are available to borrow from Libraries A.C.T.

Praise for Kirk Marshall and Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories:

Diabolically verbose, Carnivalesque: And, Other Stories is a joyous, demented orchestra of prose. Reading it is like being pulled into an intoxicating Japanese fug, and you'll sometimes wonder whether Marshall has, indeed, drugged you. These aren't stories for people with short attention spans (and you might not always understand what is happening), but pull the pages close: there is gold to be found in amongst this ensemble cast of misfits. — Benjamin Law, author of The Family Law

Kirk Marshall is a gifted wordsmith, a writer's writer, and the Australian bearer of the tradition of the Beats. Like his forbear, Jack Kerouac, his prose lands like a flurry of punches, and you read him in a happy daze, words sparkling and fading like fireworks, jumping with vitality. Every story in this collection counts big. — Patrick Holland, Miles Franklin Award-longlisted author of The Mary Smokes Boys

Carnivalesque: And, Other Stories is a giddy, vertiginous whorl of comic absurdities embroidered in a baroque, Melvillean prose that pushes syntax to its very limits — a healthy dose of literary nitrous oxide that could only issue from Marshall’s delightfully warped, sesquipedalian talent. — Emmett Stinson, author of Known Unknowns

Donald Barthelme's banter, Kenneth Patchen's dialect, Alfred Jarry's sense of occasion — all converging to track a lone surviving wolf dwelling in the vast forests of Hokkaido, a vastness only exceeded by the immensity of Marshall's imagination. — David F. Hoenigman, author of Burn Your Belongings

Kirk Marshall has perfected "Carnie Fiction" with this offering of bold, sentimental, incendiary and comic prose. As we all line up outside the circus of new fiction, Kirk Marshall has cut to the front of the line. — Trevor Richardson, author of American Bastards

"Carnivalesque" is perhaps the perfect word to sum up Kirk Marshall's writing. Like a fireworks display, it gives the impression of chaos and hypercolour, but is in fact instead a meticulously planned and executed feat of skillful timing and untethered imagination. It's safe to say you'd have to traverse innumerate carnivals before you'll find anything quite like this collection. A great work. — Christopher Currie, author of The Ottoman Motel

Reading Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories is more akin to witnessing astounding feats of live performance, in all their frenetic glory. Marshall uses language to craft his imagery with all the skill of an acrobatic contortionist. This collection is sheer literary bravado! — Amy Barker, author of Omega Park

Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories offers the reader pages of fine language surfeit with stark startles of description and a compelling obliquity of circumstance/setting. — Joshua Cohen, author of Witz


About the Author:

Kirk Marshall is a Melbourne-based writer, and teacher of English Literature and Media (Film & T.V. Studies) at RMIT University.

Kirk holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Creative Writing), with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology, a first-class Honours degree in Professional Writing from Deakin University, and a Post-graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary), with High Distinction at RMIT. Kirk is also the recipient of a Vice-Chancellor's List Award for Academic Excellence in 2011 (having finished in the top 2% of RMIT Higher Education students).

He is the author of A Solution to Economic Depression in Little Tokyo, 1953, a 2007 Aurealis Award-nominated full-colour illustrated graphic novelette.

Kirk is also the writer-director of a 2005 independent feature film, About 8 (promoted by Prodany Entertainment), and from 2009 onwards, editor of Red Leaves / 紅葉, the international English-language / Japanese bi-lingual literary journal. From 2012, Kirk will also be the curator of Night Discourse, the forthcoming free online interactive interdisciplinary fiction.

He has written for more than seventy publications, both in Australia and overseas, including Award Winning Australian Writing, Wet Ink, Going Down Swinging, Voiceworks, Verandah, Visible Ink, fourW, Mascara Literary Review, Word Riot (U.S.A.), 3:AM Magazine (Paris), (Short) Fiction Collective (U.S.A.), The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review (U.S.A.), The Journal of Unlikely Entomology (U.S.A.) and Kizuna: Fiction for Japan (Japan).

Kirk was recently shortlisted for the 2010 Wet Ink Short-Story Prize. He was also accorded the first-prize recipient of the 2010 Booranga Prize from Charles Sturt University for Best Short Story, first-prize recipient for the St. Laurences College Library Collection Literary Competition 2002, first-prize recipient of The Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Foundation/Roman Printing Prize 2002, and first-prize recipient of the Brisbane Short-Story Competition for youth under the age of 17 in 2000.

Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories is his fiction début.