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Description - Storytown by Susan Daitch

The distinctions between art and life are blurred in this unsettling and tantalizing first collection of short fiction by novelist Susan Daitch (The Colorist, L.C.). In fifteen stories, all concerning "strange displacements of the ordinary," Daitch examines the fringes of the art world in the 20th century. Characters restore or duplicate art objects (legally and otherwise), dub dialogue for foreign films, and look to old movies for guidance. In the title story (based upon a legendary amusement park in upstate New York), a woman works at a children's theme park, where Alice in Wonderland mourns for the Sheriff of Nottingham, who has joined the marines. Combining "downtown aesthetics" with a vivid historical imagination, Susan Daitch's stories have the same qualities that have earned her novels wide praise.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781564780942
ISBN-10: 1564780945
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 142mm x 15mm)
Pages: 204
Imprint: Dalkey Archive Press
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publish Date: 1-Dec-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Storytown by Susan Daitch

US Kirkus Review » A first collection, from the author of L.C. (1987) and The Colorist (1989), brings together 15 fictions, some of which have appeared in the edgier small-press mags, which is not surprising given the postmodern play of ideas that defines most of Daitch's work. Many of the meta-level narratives here, full of references to pop culture and cinema, are fundamentally lifeless, more concerned with notions of art and interpretation than with telling stories. Two exceptions stand out from a relatively dire bunch. In the long story "Doubling," a courtroom artist is visited by her cousin from Italy, who slowly takes over her apartment and sets up shop as an art forger. The two become partners, eventually inventing a lost artist whose work they churn out for European art markets. Equally intriguing is the title piece, set in a Lake George theme park, where young people act out roles from children's books. While both stories play with the relation between art and reality, they also rely on character and texture, which can't be said for many of Daitch's deliberately more abstract pieces, including a series of very short takes on print culture in France, a dialogue between Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht, and a triptych including descriptions of a mutilated painting by Correggio, massacred bodies in El Salvador, and the Soviet exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. Many of Daitch's self-reflexive narratives concern the fringes - and substrata - of the art world. A number of them take off from real and imaginary historical episodes: Eleanor Marx's trip to the States; Oscar Wilde in Coney Island; spies and conmen in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. At her worst, the author plays with some Burroughs-like techniques, randomly quoting from newspapers or simply itemizing surreal images. Daitch explores the nature of art and the meaning of defacement, destruction, and duplication in fictions that invite their own deconstruction. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Susan Daitch

Susan Daitch is the author of four works of fiction. Her short fiction has been included in The Norton Anthology of Postmodern Fiction, Tin House, Guernica, Bomb, Conjunctions, McSweeney's, The Brooklyn Rail, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Ploughshares, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. Her work has been the recipient of two Vogelstein awards. Her novel L.C. won an NEA Heritage Award and was a Lannan Foundation Selection. She teaches at Hunter College.

Books By Susan Daitch

Lost Civilization of Suolucidir by Susan Daitch
Paperback, April 2016
Paper Conspiracies by Susan Daitch
Paperback, October 2011
L.C. by Susan Daitch
Paperback, December 2002