Fictions: The Beak Doctor, Short Fictions, 1972–1976 & Bartholomew Fair by Eric Basso
This book collects the completed fiction of Eric Basso (1947–2019).
When Basso’s novella, “The Beak Doctor,” appeared in the Chicago Review in 1977, less than a year after its completion, it was the longest work of fiction published by that magazine.
For years, Eric Basso’s novella, “The Beak Doctor,” has sustained a cult reputation among a hard core of avant-garde writers. This collection of short stories begins with a tale of death and hideous resurrection, moves on through a quest for the “great horse” who rules a subterranean polar kingdom, an atmospheric cycle of short prose pieces, a tragicomic roman noir set in exotic Istanbul (in which the “great horse” appears in a new guise), and concludes with the harrowing odyssey of a masked man in a fogbound city turned upside down by a plague of sleeping sickness: “The Beak Doctor.” Other stories in the collection include “Gothick Eschatology,” “Equus Caballus, “Logues, and “Equestrian Scenes.”
Rich in texture and atmosphere, this extraordinary novel is also a stylistic tour de force in which the history of Bartholomew Fair, whose long-dead voices come to life in these pages, haunts the clandestine activities of its modern-day performers and their obsessed patrons. Its strange cast of characters do their best to unravel the fabric of expectations. Basso has created a world that is darkly comic, sinister, moving and, in the end, unforgettably disturbing.
Eric Basso (1947–2019) published numerous volumes of poetry, fiction, drama, and criticism, many focused on weird, gothic, and surrealist themes. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lived in Maryland his whole life. His novella “The Beak Doctor” appeared in the anthology, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.
Parabola : Shorter Fictions by Joe Martin
A volume of fiction built upon parables, satires, paradoxes and mystic teaching tales.
“But what is a parable? The Sufis and their predecessors have used the parable and ‘teaching tale’ extensively as one of their modes of contemplation. This is similar to the way Zen has employed parables and paradoxes — in trying to impart insight that is different from that produced by the normal intellect…. The word ‘parable’ derives from the Latin ‘parabola.’ What is a parabola in fact? Aside from designating a perfect geometric arc, which can be evenly divided by a vertical bisecting line up the middle, it has connotations of ‘throwing to the other side….’”— From the Author’s Note
Joe Martin lives in Washington DC, where he teaches and directs theatre productions. He is the author of Rumi’s Mathnavi: A Theatre Adaptation (Coyote Arts, 2020) and many other titles.