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Circling the Drain

by Amanda Davis

Enter into the worlds of fifteen young women who, despite their vastly different circumstances, seem to negotiate an eerily similar and unavoidably dangerous emotional terrain. With a visceral bite or a surreal edge, each electrically charged story in Circling the Drain presents women trying to understand the nature of loss--of leaving or being left--and discovering that in the throes of feverish conflict, things are rarely what they seem. By turns dark and lyrical, ferocious and playful, these stories are precise, startling, and undeniably original. Reading them is a cathartic, mesmerizing literary experience.

Lit Riffs

by J. T. LeRoy Jonathan Lethem Amanda Davis Touré Aimee Bender Neal Pollack Matthew Miele Heidi Julavitz Tom Perrotta Lester Bangs

Following in the footsteps of the late great Lester Bangs -- the most revered and irreverent of rock 'n' roll critics -- twenty-four celebrated writers have penned stories inspired by great songs. Just as Bangs cast new light on a Rod Stewart classic with his story "Maggie May," about a wholly unexpected connection between an impressionable young man and an aging, alcoholic hooker, the diverse, electrifying stories here use songs as a springboard for a form dubbed the lit riff. Alongside Bangs's classic work, you'll find stories by J.T. LeRoy, who puts a recovering teenage drug abuser in a dentist's chair with nothing but the Foo Fighters's "Everlong" -- blaring through the P.A. -- to fight the pain; Jonathan Lethem, whose narrator looks back on his lost innocence just as an extramarital affair careens to an end -- this to the tune "Speeding Motorcycle" as recorded by Yo La Tengo; and Jennifer Belle, who envisions a prequel to Paul Simon's "Graceland" -- one that takes place at a children's birthday party replete with a real live kangaroo. With original contributions from Tom Perrotta, Nelson George, Amanda Davis, Lisa Tucker, Aimee Bender, Darin Strauss, and many more -- riffing on everyone from Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to the White Stripes, Cat Power, and Bob Marley -- this is both an astounding collection of short stories and an extraordinary experiment in words and music. Soundtrack available from Saturation Acres Music & Recording Co.

Wonder When You'll Miss Me

by Amanda Davis

Follow sixteen-year-old Faith Duckle in this audacious and darkly funny tale as she moves through the difficult journey from the schoolyard to the harlequin world of the circus. At fifteen, Faith was lured under the bleachers by a bunch of boys at a football game and raped. Now, almost a year later, a newly thin Faith is haunted by her past, and by the cruel, flippant ghost of her formerly fat self, who is bent on revenge. This quest for retribution eventually compels Faith to violence, forcing her to flee home in search of the only friend she has -- a troubled but caring busboy named Charlie, who is the lover of a sideshow performer -- and to tumble into the colorful, transient world of the circus. But as she leaves her old life behind and dives headfirst into a world of adult passions and dreams, mercurial allegiances, and exhilarating self-discovery (while paying considerable dues with a shovel in the elephant tent), Faith ultimately begins to discover who she is and all that she is capable of. Wonder When You'll Miss Me combines tender wit with page-turning energy and characters as original as they are memorable. By turns harrowing and poignant, lyrical and hilarious, it is a vibrant, compelling novel readers won't forget.

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