I've been remiss in not posting this sooner, but, as I've already admitted, "Remiss" has been my middle name for the last couple of months.
I blogged some time back about Australia's Seizure Magazine, which publishes serialized novels, both online and in hardcopy. The magazine's stated goal was to later publish the best of the books as full novels--a modern version of how Dickens' publishers went about things.
Well, they've done it. Rufi Cole's The Violin Face was published in hardcover in the US on the first of September. At present, it's only available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, but it will be making some appearances in the brick and mortar world soon--no mean feat for an upstart press from Down Under.
The novel is a bit of a structural marvel; each first-person narrator passes the baton to another character who serves as first-person narrator for the next chapter, and only one of the narrators makes a second appearance, bookending the novel. Rufi manages to make each narrative voice distinctive, yet maintain a tone for the novel as a whole (no mean trick).
The book follows a sequence of interconnected events around a nucleus of friends, family, and lovers in 1990s Central California. For those not familiar with nuances of Californian sociology, many parts of Central California have continued as white-trash heaven long after the days that Stenbeck chronicled, and The Violin Face has its roots in rather gritty soil. Yet it's still modern California, so there are minor Land-of-Fruits-and-Nuts touches, as well as elements of low-life drug and biker culture. And did I mention that some of the narrators are barely post-pubescent?
So I guess I'd have to call it a New-Age Trailer-Park Young Adult Literary novel.
Don't look for that section in your local bookstore. But do look for the book.