A.G. Pasquella’s Welcome to the Weird America brings together three of his brilliant, fabulist novellas, each of which is filled with strange language and extraordinary surprises. In Why Not a Spider Monkey Jesus?, written like a comic-book adventure without the images, a talking chimpanzee becomes a televangelist. In NewTown, the author’s love letter to science fiction, a teenage boy named Sammy joins a motley band of rebels intent on overthrowing the bungling admiral of a huge spaceship. And in The This & the That, Pasquella takes us back to the old weird America, an America of hucksters and hobos, cartoons and carnivals.
From questions about money and God to environmental collapse, to the intersection of humanity and technology, A.G. Pasquella tackles complex subjects with beautifully surreal prose and a deep delight in the tradition of weird fiction. These mesmerizing, upending stories will have readers setting off on a fascinating journey down an unknown road with no destination, or end, in sight.
Check out his list below of other weird and wonderful reads.
Wrong Bar, by Nathaniel G. Moore
This surreal dreamlike neo-noir is shot through with humour and poetic symbolist touches. Put the works of Brett Easton Ellis, the movie “Brick,” and Vile Bodies, by Evelyn Waugh together in a blender and Wrong Bar is what you’d get.
The Odious Child, by Carolyn Black
Edward Gorey meets Sheila Heti in these fractured fantasies that delve into the dark humour underlying the absurdities of life and love in the concrete jungle.
Insects, by Iain Deans
These poems practically vibrate with seething intensity—and then they’re followed by unexpected moments of introspection, tenderness and love. The images—like Jerry Lee Lewis’s burning piano—are sharp and clear: they’ll drill down into your skull and stay with you for a long, long time.
Brown Girl In The Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson
A tale of Post-Apocalyptic Toronto informed by Caribbean folklore in which the good guys live in Riverdale Farm and the bad guy lives on top of the CN Tower? Yes, please!
RATS NEST, Mat Laporte
If they gave out prizes for sheer creativity, this swirling dark poetic hallucination of a book would’ve won them all. A self-reproducing 3D Printed Kid descends into a bottomless pit, acting as a framing device for twelve fantastic stories: one of which is narrated by a single point of light. I’ve thought about this book at least once a week for the past six years. It’s truly mind-blowing.
The Cage, by Martin Vaughan-James
Graphic novels can use both time and space in ways that non-graphic novels cannot, and Vaughan-James takes full advantage of that in The Cage. There are no people here, only their remnants: abandoned rooms, scattered pages, twisted sheets. This unnerving but beautiful book leaves us with the unsettling feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. The way Vaughan-James graphically uses both time and space to render a mood finds its closest analogue in Richard McGuire’s Here, published as a graphic novel in 2014—39 years after the publication of “The Cage.”
Letters To Wendy’s, by Joe Wenderoth
Okay, I had to stick this book in here even though it’s American. One of my favourite books of all time, Letters to Wendy’s is an epistolary novel told in prose poems written on Wendy’s (the fast food restaurant) comment cards over the course of a single year. Letters to Wendy’s isn’t just a Postmodern critique on Consumerism, it’s also a miracle of compression. Wenderoth crams so much LIFE into this book that it just doesn’t seem possible. It’s a work of Genius. A Plus Plus, All The Thumbs Up.
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