Reviews -- Red Moon/Red Lake

Red Moon/Red Lake "evoke[s] a hallucinatory world peopled by characters so alienated that their very identities are mysteries to each other. Is Pam's brother Rudi a serial killer? Is Rudi's best friend, Don, really his adversary? As their exurban neighborhood is menaced bu a string of bizarre murders, these young adults become unmoored; they lose their jobs, their friends and lovers, they drift into states of lethargy. ... Sophisticated readers will readily eschange the charted terrains of conventional fiction for the enigmatic adventures offered here."
-- Publishers Weekly
"A portrait of contemporary aimlessness and disorientation shot through with references to the media-saturation and celebrity-ache of our times."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Red Moon/Red Lake places the writing team of Ascher/Straus squarely in the forefront of post-modern literature. Cool and detached, the seven stories in this fascinating collection are deconstructions of reality, fragmented visions of life in a suburban hell.... Highly recommended."
-- Small Press Magazine
"The dreams and films reach their sinister and comic peak in Red Moon/Red Lake. This collection of stories follows a constellation of characters whose sense of coherence and plot is tied to monster movies, movies in which alien pods blow their seeds across suburban lawns, movies in which dark figures who hunger for living flesh haunt the dark spaces in between the shoddy houses of suburbs that seem to have been designed for nightmares to take place in. It's a feeling that pervades everyone and everything, so that in midsummer heat, under a blinding sun, Nora meets an old woman who speaks of how the cicadas are louder than ever before and the heat somehow darker, in a relentless monologue of horror. Nora thinks the old woman has lived too long: "Or had neither died nor survived the winter. A sort of corpse within which a tiny vocal kernel had sprouted, its roots on the other side." The old woman's daughter laughs and translates. 'What Ma means is that the air is dead and the trees are dead, and the sweat that pours off us gets filthier and fouler every year. Yet we stand out here and we keep talking and talking. We can't shut up....' Ascher/Straus-world is haunted by the belief that one's own story is composed of all the stories others tell us, even or especially those we'd rather avoid. As the most sinister possibilities eclipse the willful banality of these lives, Red Moon/Red Lake crests in the strange and complicated title story, as emotionally satisfying and dreadful as anything in contemporary fiction. ....Ascher/Straus have chosen their own canon and manifested that subjective history as a unique constellation. Ascher/Straus are a crossroads where Doctor X, Shadow of a Doubt, The Damned Don't Cry, and Lola Montes come together with the sort of 'European' fiction that involves an intellectual engagement with the world. Despite all the thinking that goes on in these books, they are never pretentious, boring, or incomprehensible and are consistently funny."
-- Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

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