Friday, August 22, 2008

Erotomania: In Transit (a reader's testimonial)

We received this through top-secret channels of communication. A reader of Erotomania: A Romance, novel by Francis Levy, on New York City's subway system.

"I started reading the book on the subway. People around me quickly noticed the effect the book was having on me and became curious. Soon, they were asking, hey man, what you reading. Then it was, hey man, read it out loud. The whole car was insistent. What choice did I have.

"So I started to read it aloud. I am no actor, but I read well. I read slowly, calmly, carefully. I did not ham it up. I did not overemphasize the racy parts. But then the writing doesn't need that, does it. Perhaps my calm reading only increased the effect.

"I was focused on my reading, nose in the book. So I didn't at first see what was going on. People stayed on, let their stops pass by. They become flushed and a bit squirmy. At first, they didn't know what to do. But then one man and woman who were not traveling together, moved to sit together. Soon the entire car had paired up. Some of the pairs were a bit weird, ages and styles that did not belong together, but no one wanted to be alone. I just kept reading. I was totally engaged and I guess became oblivious to those around me. When I finally came to a point where I needed to pause, I looked up. Every single couple, young, old, in between, mixed up, were lying back in post coital bliss. The car was now heavy not only with the words, but also the sounds, smell and taste of sex.

"It was like the old cigar factories. One worker would read stories while therest worked. I was the reader, they worked, so to speak.

"Though i had not participated, not had the satisfaction the others achieved, I still felt very good. I hadn't written the book and I hadn't had thepleasure of letting it take me over. But clearly I had helped increase the pleasure in the world by a small amount in one subway car.

"I left the car then to allow them all to put themselves back together and resume their anonymous travels. No one said a thing as I exited."

I'd like to encourage this sort of behavior. It's good for people.

As the reader notes, the book has a tendency to make you squirm. Anyone with an experience of reading (doesn't have to be aloud) Erotomania in a public place is strongly encouraged to either share by commenting on this blog, or emailing to twodollar [at]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When I Grow Up, I Want to be Reviewed Like This.

Erotomania: A Romance, the first novel from Francis Levy:

The Village Voice
Read Francis Levy's Erotomania, Wash Hands.
Are golden showers the blowjobs of tomorrow? Just ask this satirical novelist.
Review by Zach Baron

"[A] hilariously satirical debut novel: sex, leavened by comedy, shimmying enthusiastically in the echo chamber of a century of writing on the once-taboo subject. Miller, Lawrence, and Genet stop by like proud ancestors, godfathers of modern literature's pornographic impulse. But it's a more recent generation of mischievous, deviant writers (Nicholson Baker, Mary Gaitskill) that truly looms large—"

"Gaitskill and Baker's French-kissing cousin."

Exquisite Corpse
Review by Andrei Codrescu

"Erotomania is a spiritual quest: substitute the word "God" for "fuck," and there you have it, the silence filled with joy.

"It's a great book, written with flawless verve by a tremendous fictioneer and thinker, and it deserves glory. It is published by a small press that may yet become great if it manages to set Erotomania as the high-bar of its offerings. In any case, have it on my word, a reader, run and buy this book, it's a classic."

Amy Koppelman Will Be Required Reading in Schools One Day.

There feels like an amazing buzz of anticipation about the release of Amy Koppelman's forthcoming novel, I Smile Back.

Get giddy with these ringing endorsements:

"Amy Koppelman’s I Smile Back is amazing. There’s wit, speed, range, and complete authority here. Among other qualities, it has presence — you hold in your hands a pretty wild ride."
—Darin Strauss

“Amy Koppelman probes deeply into the dark and cavernous recesses of a picture-perfect suburban mom, and emerges with one of the most terrifying novels I’ve read in ages. It’s a glorious little explosion of a book.”
—Dani Shapiro

“Like the outlaw movies that Laney likes, Amy Koppelman’s unforgettable heroine is dangerous, raw and untamable. Like Laney, Koppelman refuses to tone down, be polite, or color in the lines - which is what makes I Smile Back so brilliant and devastating.”
—Susan Shapiro

“Amy Koppelman writes with beauty and precision about a life turned ugly and disoriented. Laney Brooks is a heroine on par with Joan Didion’s Maria Wyeth. She captivates not only because she recognizes the darkness closing in around her, but because a part of her welcomes it.”
—David Benioff

“One of today’s most fearless and brilliant writers, Koppelman peels away at the dark side of the suburban dream. The prose gleams like poetry, and she’s given us a heroine so original and disquieting, that I dare any reader to forget her — or Koppelman.”
—Caroline Leavitt

“Amy Koppelman’s portrait of a contemporary American couple will slash and burn every idea you ever had about marriage. Koppelman’s vision is both dark and ferocious; once you are in her grip, she’ll never let you go.”
—Yona Zeldis McDonough

(December is when I Smile Back will be released.)

(Check out Amy's pic, where she dons a TDR tee.)

2 Publishers Weekly "Big Books" Selections.

Both Erotomania: A Romance, by Francis Levy, and Crust, by Lawrence Shainberg, were included by Judith Rosen in her August 4th article in Publishers Weekly called "Big Books, On Campus and Off. Hot independent and university press titles for the fall."

Regarding Erotomania, Rosen says: "Three year-old Two Dollar Radio plans to launch this nontraditional love story, with traces of Bukowski and Henry Miller, at New York City's Museum of Sex."

Regarding Crust: "This novel stands out for several reasons, not least its subject matter, nose picking, but also its more than two dozen four-color illustrations."

One Thing That Meant the World to Me.

I'm pretty excited. We're going to be publishing a first novel by this writer named Joshua Mohr, a terrificly talented new voice.

The title alone packs a wallop: Some Things That Meant the World to Me.

Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby said this about the book: "A startling debut. Joshua Mohr takes us to a different city, but a city we know, populated by the dark side of ourselves."

Feast on this first paragraph from the novel:
I’d like to brag about the night I saved a hooker’s life. Like to tell you how quiet everything else in the world was while I helped her. This was in San Francisco. Late 2007. I’d been drinking in Damascus, my favorite dive bar, which was painted entirely black—floor, walls, and ceiling. Being surrounded by all that darkness had this slowing effect on time, like a shunned astronaut meandering in space.

It's sharp, it's potent, it will make you swoon.