This is the fifteenth installment of Entropy’s Small Press Releases list. Props to Jenny Christie for all of her work to create this amazing asset to the independent literary community. I hope to continue in her path. Going forward this list will be released on a bi-monthly basis between the releases of Where to Submit. The texts in this list are curated through my personal interest and recommendations from publishing companies, authors, and publicists. Please contact me with upcoming releases. Understand that I will only include two texts per publishing company. Amazon and Bookshop are affiliated links and qualifying sales help to sustain Entropy. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soft Invasion by James Reich
150 pages – Anti-Oedipus Press
Los Angeles, 1942. Psychoanalyst Maxwell McKinney and his wife Joan await the return of their son after the sinking of the USS Yorktown. With sections of the city under camouflage and ordinances against “enemy aliens,” McKinney is troubled by his ambivalent feelings for his son and fears that California will be invaded by the Japanese. A chance encounter with a man who appears to be his double, a screenwriter named Sid Starr, allows McKinney to confront his guilt. Entwined with McKinney, Starr finds that his own identity is at stake, and between the two, McKinney’s wife and son fight against their own destruction.
Punctuating great American fears, James Reich targets the zones of recent history where worlds and anxieties collide, among them UFOs, the Battle of Midway, Hollywood, psychoanalysis and Japanese internment. Soft Invasionsis an existential thriller about cowardice, cruelty and betrayal that invokes David Cronenberg’s body-horror classics as well as the cold California glamor of Joan Didion, the ominous noir of Horace McCoy and the psychic angst of Norman Mailer.
This edition features an afterword by literary and media theorist Laurence A. Rickels, whose many works include SPECTRE and Germany: A Science Fiction, both available from Anti-Oedipus Press. – from the Anti-Oedipus website
Black Lawrence Press
A Single Throat Opens by Meghan McClure and Michael Schmeltzer – Black Lawrence Press
McClure and Schmeltzer have concocted a compelling, lilting whisper of a work that defies genre. The blending of their words reminds me of a hushed table in the corner of a small café toward closing hours, where a candle trembles between the confessions of two shadows, leaning into one other. At times, it’s impossible to discern between the two voices, so tied are they in their reverence and reckoning, their lies and longing, their desire for the burn of drink mixed with the shared fear of it in their blood. The lyricism of A Single Throat Opens will make every listener thirsty, parched on the last page for more. This book is a yearning. – from the Black Lawrence Press website
The Missing Girl by Jacqueline Doyle – Black Lawrence Press
A driver lures a young girl into his car.
A woman recalls a not-so-innocent childhood game.
A man reveals much more than he’ll ever tell the police.
After a high school girl is murdered, everyone has an opinion.
A girl wakes beside a dumpster to find slut scrawled on her body—and that’s not the worst thing that happened last night.
A girl speaks up after a crime—but is she telling the truth? And could you blame her if she’s not?
The girls who populate Jacqueline Doyle’s The Missing Girl have vanished. Or their childhoods have gone missing. In Doyle’s collection of flash fictions, the voicelessness of the missing is palpable, the girls’ stories whispered into a vacuum or recounted from the point of view of a predator, murderer, or voyeur. Violence lurks below the surface here, haunts the back pages of newspapers, takes up residence in your dreams.
You know a missing girl. – from the Black Lawrence Press website
A Book about Things I will Tell My Daughter by Joel L. Daniels – Bottlecap Press
“I love the shit out of my daughter. I want to change the world, with words. This started as affirmations for Lilah, which turned into prayers, which turned into love letters, which turned into essays, which turned into poems, which then turned into all of the above.
This has been written in the same vein as Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, for context. I wanted to write something that could document my experience as a single father, a single Black father, raising a soon-to-be 2-year-old Afro-Latina in the 45th era. I wanted her to know me, and know herself, with the hope that it would help fathers learn their own daughters, and learn themselves, too.”
—Joel L. Daniels
Cardboard House Press
Litane by Alejandro Tarrab (Translated from Spanish by Clare Sullivan)
216 Pages (Bilingual edition) – Cardboard House Press
Dalkey Archive Press
An Egyptian Novel by Orly Castel-Bloom (Translated by Todd Hasak-Lowy)
160 page – Dalkey Archive Press
The protagonist has Egyptian roots going back many generations: on her father’s side, to the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, when seven brothers of the Kastil family (from Castilla) landed on the Gaza coast after many trials and tribulations. Her mother’s side goes back even further, to the only family that Jewish history has ignored: the ones who said “No” to Moses and stayed in Egypt. After migrating to Israel in the 1950s and settling on a kibbutz—from which they were soon expelled for Stalinism—this storied clan moved to Tel Aviv. In this unconventional family saga, Orly Castel-Bloom blends fact with fiction, history with legend, reimagining the lives of her forebears in unforgettable prose. – from the Dalkey Archive Press website
Selected Stories by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
200 pages – Dalkey Archive Press
This volume collects new short stories from one of Ireland’s leading writers in both the Irish and English languages. Eilis Ni Dhuibhne’s stories are widely acclaimed for their acute perception of Irish women’s lives, the power of her verbal economy, and her skillful and unique use of both humor and the fantastic. – from the Dalkey Archive Press website
Utilizing an innovative mashup of genres, ranging from pulp fiction, dark comedy, and metafiction, This Book Is Not for You charts the actions of nineteen-year-old Neptune, a misfit and punk haunted by the death of his parents. Having fallen in with an anarchist group determined to blow up a university building, he steals the dynamite instead, igniting an entirely different brand of trouble: the murder of his mentor; a three-way manhunt; and the mystery of the Ghost Machine, a walkman that replays snippets from his own twisted past.
Told in a nonstop chain of Chapter Ones, Daniel Hoyt’s debut novel explores the clash between chaos and calm, the instinct for self-destruction and the longing for redemption. – from the Dzanc Books website
It’s 2006, and a cloud of darkness seems to have descended over the Earth—or at least over the minds of a ragtag assortment of Bay Area writers, drug dealers, social workers, porn directors, and Melvin, a street kid and refugee from his Mormon family. A shooter runs amok in an Amish schoolhouse, the president runs amok in the Middle East, a child is kidnapped from Disneyland, and on the local literary scene, a former child prostitute and wunderkind author that nobody has ever met has become a media sensation.
But something is fishy about this author, Huey Beauregard, and so Melvin and his friends Felicia and Philip launch an investigation into the webs of self-serving stories, lies, rumors, and propaganda that have come to constitute our sad, fractured reality.
Glory Hole is a novel about the ravages of time and the varied consequences of a romantic attitude toward literature and life. It is about AIDS, meth, porn, fake biographies, street outreach, the study of Arabic verb forms, Polish transgender modernists, obsession, and future life forms. It’s about getting lost in the fog, about prison as both metaphor and reality, madness, evil clowns, and mystical texts. Vast and ambitious, comic and tragic, the novel also serves as a version of the I Ching, meaning it can be used as an oracle. – from the FC2 website
Pamela Ryder’s stories vary in style and perspective, and time lines overlap as death advances and retreats. This unique and shifting narrative explores the complexities of a relationship in which the father—who has been a high-flying outsider—descends into frailty and becomes dependent upon the daughter he has never really known.
A final journey takes father and daughter back to the Southwest in search of Paradise Field. Their travels through that desolate landscape foreshadow the father’s ultimate decline, as portrayed in the concluding stories that tell of the uneasy transformation in the bond between them and in the transcendence of his demise. Taken together, the stories in Paradise Field are an eloquent but unsparing depiction of infirmity and death, as well as solace and provocation for anyone who has been left to stand graveside and confront eternity. – from the FC2 website
Five Oaks Press
The Temple She Became by Rachel Custer – Five Oaks Press
“In her stunning first collection The Temple She Became, Rachel Custer writes, ‘A moment can be a cathedral.’ The poems in this collection delineate life as a kind of religion—uncovering the damned and seeking the divine in the daily-ness of living. Bitingly honest as well as elegantly crafted, they unfold before the reader like the paintings that inspire many of them: It is all here, they seem to say, if you are willing to look close enough. Be willing—these brilliant, beautiful poems will stay with you long after the book is closed.”
— Laura Orem, author of Resurrection Biology and Castrata: A Conversation
mxd kd mixtape by Malcolm Friend – Glass Poetry
“In his debut chapbook mxd kd mixtape, Malcolm Friend offers us a speaker on the fringe of becoming. If he were a superhero this would be his origin story. The musicality & rhythm that is promised in the title more than delivers, but what Friend also delivers on are poems forged within the many rooms of his identity. & these rooms are decorated with poetic craft & a keen knowledge of the songs that have shaped him. This collection, & Friend are a valuable addition to America’s poetic landscape. I look forward to many more work from this fresh new voice.”
—Yesenia Montilla, author of The Pink Box
Inside the Castle
The F Text by Douglas Luman – Inside the Castle
“Mapping the Silk Roads within us, Douglas Luman’s lapidary erasure of Marco Polo’s travels in their various literary iterations—from Rustichello da Pisa’s Medieval account to Italo Calvino’s postmodern rendition—is aflutter with “different flags / of an embroidered / glittering fringe.” Luman’s work deepens our understanding of history, interiority, and poetic making (as a form of unmaking) itself. “I have never seen and will never see / a fragment,” this voice testifies, amid the ruins. Wondrously, we emerge from Luman’s archaeology of civilizational disorders with a new sense of the imaginative constellations overhead: “The sky is filled with stars. There is / the blueprint.””
— Srikanth Reddy, author of Voyager and Facts for Visitors
King Shot Press
Nasty edited by Tiffany Scandal – King Shot Press
Nasty! is a collection of radical non-fiction essays that provide crucial commentary on what it’s like to be a woman today. Bold stories from fierce women who are not ashamed of who they are and what they do.
100% of proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood. – from the King Shot Press website
Mapping My Way Home: Activism, Nostalgia, and the Downfall of Apartheid South Africa by Stephanie J. Urdang
304 pages – Monthly Review Press
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Urdang learned to hate the apartheid regime from her socialist parents. At the age of twenty-three, no longer able to tolerate its grotesque iniquities, she chose self-exile and emigrated to the United States. From the perspective of an anti-apartheid activist, a feminist and journalist, she tracked and wrote about the slow, inexorable demise of apartheid, as well as the victory over Portuguese colonialism in Africa. She trekked through the liberated zones of Guinea-Bissau; returned repeatedly to newly independent Mozambique where she witnessed the impact of the conflict fomented by South Africa against its neighbor; and participated in the vibrant divestment movement in the United States. – from the Monthly Review website
Serenade by Brooke Ellsworth
109 pages – Octopus Books
“Brooke Ellsworth grabs the detritus and heartache of our age and squeezes hard. Of course a lot escapes between her fingers, it’s the poems. Sometimes they feel like elegies for people who don’t know they’re dead: ‘the stupidest question you get / is if you’re lonely.’ You wonder whether Serenade is coming from ghosts or the newsfeed or Mina Loy or punk rock or what – you don’t always know who’s singing, or if singing’s all it is, but there’s a cut-off ear listening in the grass.”
Malak by Jenny Sadre-Orafai
80 pages - Platypus Press
“Malak is an invocation of past and future. With familial lament and childish wonder, the words lay tribute to the infinite—to the beauty in descent and the heartache that binds us to place. To our smallness in death and the importance of conjuring anew.
Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s Malak is a splendidly written book that considers where metaphysical themes and elliptical lyric intersect. At its core, this collection inquires about spiritual inheritance and relationships through the skillful deployment of images that wrap the reader in their clutch. Sadre-Orafai’s poems, rooted in memory, mourning and honor, are hauntingly surreal yet solidly material.”
— Airea D. Matthews
Saddle Road Press
Appearances by Michael Collins –Amazon
“I come here when I fear my soul/has fled forever,” says the speaker in Appearances, about a place where land, water, and sky converge.
In poems that take their shape from daily walks around a teeming harbor, Michael Collins meditates on nature, though not nature as “some place you visit/some museum to nostalgia through,” but as a place of meeting and confrontation between nature and civilization, art and subject, consciousness and the unconscious, life and death.
The poems in this sequence render images offered by both the human and natural worlds, even as the speaker knows that he “can’t reason these worlds/back together.” – from the Saddle Road Press website
Sagging Meniscus Press
Lords of the School Yard by Ed Hamilton
278 pages – Sagging Meniscus
Fiction. The young roughnecks in LORDS OF THE SCHOOLYARD, best friends since eighth grade, smell the roses in their own way: tormenting and manipulating smaller kids, sassing teachers, throwing smoke bombs, and sneaking cigarettes in the school bathroom. They may be outcasts, unable to fit in or to follow rules, but they never take it lying down; instead, they take it out on others.
Stark, brutal, at times darkly humorous, and written in a powerfully pared-down style purged of any ostentation, Hamilton’s story is told from the point of view of one such antisocial bully. The effect of identification with a character so blithely inconsiderate of his own cruelty is exquisitely uncomfortable, even shocking, and captures with unforgettable force the anomie and amoralism of the adolescent mind, as well as the fundamental, sorrowful human innocence that lies beneath it. This harrowing immersion into the inner reality of a little boy who chooses victimization over victimhood casts an all-too-timely light on contemporary society in 2017. – from the Sagging Meniscus website
Resisting Probability by Colin James
72 pages – Sagging Meniscus
Poetry. The uncanny obstinacy of Colin James’ poems in RESISTING PROBABILITY lingers like an elusive aftertaste, a sense of raw, stunted assertion and material finality both incomplete and unchangeable. This is we feel how things are, as we settle into the Jamesian groove: whimsical, laconic, gnomic, with a strange resilience of their own no matter how gnarled in form. What feels most solid, though, may not be things themselves, or what is said, but the unsettling edge of silence around them, with a hint of something a little dangerous, but funny too. We learn to take it like it is: “When these are moved / to the center of the room / things don’t improve.” – from the Sagging Meniscus website
Percy Shelley once remarked, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
What if Shelley was right, but his understanding didn’t go far enough? What if there was an ancient, interdimensional, supernatural cabal that strives to direct human progress, that has worked tirelessly in the darkness to save our world in spite of our enlightened penchant for destruction? Novelist and literary scholar Jordan A. Rothacker shares his discovery of the notebooks of Maawaam, a Shadow Man and member of the secret society of Shadow Men and Women. What does Rothacker’s discovery mean for our world? Will Maawaam’s cryptic fragments, like the Rosetta Stone, provide a key to understanding this ancient and powerful tradition?
Science fiction or memoir; poetry or prose; art manifesto or political call to action; wisdom or nonsense? What is Maawaam’s Shadow Book but what lies between, what lies in the shadows. – from the Spaceboy Books website
Stalking Horse Press
It’s 1973, and a thirty-something widow has been cajoled by a young hippie parasite into financing their vacation to a nudist colony in the Northern California mountains. The night before their departure, however, she arrives home to learn that she and this man will be accompanied by the stripper on his lap. At Camp Freedom Lake, the trio meet a womanizing evangelist, a bumbling Zen gardener, and a pair of aging drug-addled swingers from Holland. Together, they’re catapulted through one improbable event after the other, each stranger than the last, until finally the woman who was dominated by her fear of past and future finds herself reveling in the great here and now. – from the Stalking Horse website
Two Line Press
A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro (Translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney)
200 pages – Two Line Press
Globally acclaimed as a meticulous explorer of the psyche’s most obscure alleyways, Elvira Navarro here delivers an ambitious tale of feminine friendship, madness, a radically changing city, and the vulnerability that makes us divulge our most shameful secrets.
It begins as Elisa transcribes the chaotic testimony of her roommate Susana, acting as part-therapist, part-confessor as Susana reveals a gripping account of her strange sexual urges, and the one man who can satisfy them. But is Susana telling the truth? And what to make of Elisa’s own strange account of her difficult relationship with Susana, which blends her literary ambitions with her deep need for catharsis? Is this a true account of Elisa’s life, or is it the follow-up to her first novel that she has long been wanting to write? In one final surprise, A Working Woman concludes with a curious epilogue that makes us question everything we have just read.
With her penchant for finding the freakish side of the everyday, her precisely timed, mordant sentences, and her powerful, innovative style, A Working Woman confirms Elvira Navarro as “the subtle, almost hidden, true avant-gardist of her generation” (Enrique Vila-Matas, El País). A Working Woman masterfully uncovers the insecurity lurking just beneath the surface of every stable life, even as it points the way toward new concepts of what the novel can be. – from the Two Line Press website
What We Build Upon the Ruins by Giano Cromley – Amazon
Description: Like an arrowhead, the title story in this collection pierces through our tough skin and through to what’s delicate within. It’s the first piece in a tryptich that elegantly holds together this stunning collection about love and loss and longing—our feeble human institutions and fragile relationships broken down and rusting; our tender hearts shot through with tragedy and dysfunction but still struggling to stay alive, to find wholeness and healing and rebirth in nature, or just to keep beating as long as possible in the face of overwhelming sorrow. – from the Tortoise Books website
“Giano Cromley’s powerful stories feature blue collar characters who make mistakes, race blindly toward disaster, and frequently plunge over the rim into darkness. These are the folks Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams capture in their songs. Survival in the aftermath is the key.”
– Richard Peabody, editor, Gargoyle Magazine
University of Oklahoma Press
Live from Medicine Park by Constance Squires
224 pages – Oklahoma Press
Documentary filmmaker Ray Wheeler is down on his luck. Embroiled in a lawsuit, he is reeling from the consequences of a near-fatal shooting on his last film, and has just lost his teaching gig. Broke and beleaguered, he can’t afford to be particular about his next project. So when a former student invites him to film the comeback of Lena Wells, an iconic rock-and-roll singer who hit it big in the seventies, more than two decades earlier, he reluctantly agrees—even though he doesn’t like her music. – from the University of Oklahoma Press website
Vegetarian Alcoholic Press
This Hasn’t Been a Very Magical Journey So Far by Homeless
224 pages – Vegetarian Alcoholic
VAP’s first novel follows the adventures of Hank Williams, a troubled young man processing the loss of the love of his life, Patsy Cline. He’s greeted with the aid of Sid, a psychopathic cat who takes him on a deranged road trip in search of lost love and new meaning. Surreal obstacles meet them at every pass, leaving Hank Williams to question whether Sid is his savior or captor. – from the Vegetarian Alcoholic Press website