Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Modern Communications Techniques in Des Moines (and other stories) by Gary Britson

Murphy's Law Press is proud to announce the publication of Modern Communications Techniques in Des Moines by Gary Britson.
Some writers we miss entirely during their lifetimes: John Kennedy Toole, author of A Confederacy of Dunces, Tom McHale, author of Farragan's Retreat, H.L. Humes, author of The Underground City, even Fred Exley, author of A Fan's Notes. Their books are thrust upon us by ardent strangers we meet on trains or in cafés, or by friends who pass along heated recommendations as though they're cures for gout or hangovers. Usually, we can only find these books in the dusty and shadow-shrouded stacks of used bookstores. Upon finding some partially disintegrating edi-tion, we clutch it, rescue it and devour it -- only to become that ardent stranger, ourselves, who thrust the book on strangers on trains or in cafés.

Searching through the vast swampy bulrushes of the Internet in 2002, I stumbled across the work of such an author who is still with us. His name is Gary Britson. I encountered his story, "A Job For Gotsdiner," on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio -- it made me feel like Joseph Smith unearthing those golden tablets, thinking, This is the stuff upon which new religions are predicated.

A baby-boomer from America's Midwest, Gary Britson has fermented in popular culture for more than fifty years. In his work, references to Finnegan's Wake and the operas of Wagner stand alongside mentions of Hee Haw and The Three Stooges. In other stories, zombies eat at restaurant salad bars and young women communicate with fellow riders on public transit via slogans on T-shirts. An equal-parts fan of theatre, opera and baseball, Gary Britson writes in his story "Harry in America," about a composer whose opus is a musical based on the Warren Commission Re-port on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In his story, "The Executioner's Groupies," Britson co-mingles capital punishment with baseball, writing of a wretched old stadium in Iowa where condemned men are strung-up to the scoreboard and electrocuted when a homerun is hit. In "A Job for Gotsdiner," he writes of the soul-demolishing experience of a middle-aged man losing a job he'd held for years and his fruitless, perilous pursuit of another, wringing pained guffaws from the reader as he recounts Gotsdiner's tragicomic travails.

The following stories are the hilarious and playfully perverse work of a man who's been overlooked by literary agents far and wide, shunned by the whole of American publishing, ignored by major magazines, and who is, quite possibly, the best writer you've never read. Check out an excerpt.


1 comment:

Todd Zuniga said...

Brilliant! Endless congrats to Gary. Proud that his title story was in Opium. Off to tell the Twitter/Facebook world.