1988. A group of outcasts gather at a small, prestigious arts camp nestled in the Maine woods. They're the painters: bright, hopeful, teeming with potential. But secrets and dark ambitions rise like smoke from a campfire, and the truths they tell will come back to haunt them in ways more deadly than they dreamed.
2018. Esteemed art professor Max Durant arrives at his protege's remote home to view her graduate thesis collection. He knows Audra is beautiful and brilliant. He knows being invited into her private world is a rare gift. But he doesn't know that Audra has engineered every aspect of their weekend together. Every detail, every conversation. Audra has woven the perfect web.
Because only Audra knows what happened that summer in 1988. Max's secret, and the dark things that followed.
A searing psychological thriller and gripping story of trauma, dark academia, complicity, and revenge, Dark Things I Adore unravels the realities behind campfire legends--the horrors that happen in the dark, the girls who become cautionary tales, and the guilty who go unpunished.
Published in 2016 by Mammoth Books, AMERICAN VAUDEVILLE "explores the life and talent of Zembla Vist, an eccentric and audacious narrator who takes us on a kaleidoscopic ride through America in an attempt to reconstruct her past." —Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi, author of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner award-winning CALL ME ZEBRA
This short innovative novel explores the sometimes dark, sometimes ridiculous, and sometimes forgotten-familiar of America, family, and motherhood by cobbling together the life of the main character, Zembla Vist, by means of a matrix of lenses, myths, and nostalgias in order to (re)constitute her reality and genealogy.
The organizing principle of the novella comes in the form of the vaudeville show; in Part One of the novella, the reader is introduced to the “talent” (the characters) that the rest of the work will follow, as well as a bit of their backstory. In Part Two of the novella, the reader is guided through a story/ stretch of time in the life of Zembla Vist in the form of the nine acts of a traditional vaudeville show, or, the “bill”; the events of her life are translated into a “dumb act,” a ventriloquism act, a playlet, and six other classic vaudeville staples.
In reimagining her life and status as producer of entertainment, memory, and progeny through a vaudevillian filter, Zembla both invites and defers a “true” working thesis for her own life, and finds that a radical reimagining and reconstitution of one's own story only liberates one so far, and perhaps comes with its own delimiting baggage.