The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone by Liam Howley

Liam Howley opens The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone (Jagged C Press, 344 pages) with an introduction to Cornelius Solitude Conlon, an aging man who, I assumed, was the primary protagonist. In fact, my assumption continued throughout a good portion of the novel, even though the narrative shifted to various other characters as I read along. Nevertheless, as the story progressed, Cornelius became but one piece in the game board that is Poulnabrone.

It is, in fact, Poulnabrone that is the centerpiece of this story. Primary and secondary characters appear on the scene, make an impact, and leave. Some return later on, some never appear again, yet others remain present to weave the fabric of the tale as it is spun along, carrying with them the thread of continuity without overshadowing the main premise. Continue reading on Dactyl Review.

The World's Smallest Bible by Dennis Must

Death is always bearing down in Dennis Must’s somber, disquieting novel, The World’s Smallest Bible (Red Hen Press, 232 pages). Death knocks on the window above the bed shared by brothers Ethan and Jeremiah Meuller in the small town of Hebron, in north central Pennsylvania; death is in the hand-me-downs they receive as gifts from the parents of soldiers who have just been killed in World War II; death brews inside their suicidal mother Rose, who has been scorned by their father; death dogs at their Aunt Eva, a stripper at the Elks Club; and death badgers their neighbor, Stanley Cuzack, as he tries to invent a perpetual motion machine. Half suffocating himself, Must’s narrator, Ethan, tries to push himself away .

The boys are about ten and eight when their mother orders the younger Jeremiah back into the children’s bedroom. She’s had it sharing her bed with her son, just another reminder of the man who’s supposed to be there and isn’t. Continue reading on Dactyl Review.

Dactyl director, VN Alexander interviewed

January 23, 2024

VN Alexander interviewed on “No Lies Radio” about her new political satire novel Locus Amoenus, politics, Dactyl Foundation, Dactyl Review and the arts generally.

Dactyl Foundation Literary Awards Announced

December 23, 2013

In the past three years, Dactyl Foundation has concentrated on developing the literary fiction community, which has dwindled over the past twenty years as publishing houses began to focus on big sellers ignoring the niche market of fine literature.

In 2010, we launched Dactyl Review, a community of literary fiction writers who review literary fiction and nominate works for Dactyl Foundation’s $1000 annual prize.  The contest is open to any living literary fiction writer, regardless of date of publication or type of publication. We are especially interested in books that came out some time ago and have not yet received the recognition they deserve.

This year we decided to award two prizes.  We are pleased to announce that the first award goes to The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann, published in 2011 by The Permanent Press.  The second award goes to Cocoa Almond Darling by Jeffra Hays, self-published in 2011 on Kindle.

Support this worthy project now by becoming a member or renewing your membership. Click here. We’ve got a lot of interesting and important work ahead of us. We can’t do it without you. Thanks in advance for your support. Dactyl Foundation is a 501 c3 organization, and your donation is fully tax-deductible.

Review by Charles Holdefer

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
reviewed by Charles Holdefer


Dactyl Review Project

There’s a long tradition of writing about sport that tries to be more than writing about sport. Journalism, it seems, is not enough. The events of a game and the constraints of its rules become raw materials for allegory. Much fuss has been made in recent years about the rise of nonfiction and its power over the popular imagination—but when it comes to sport, the lure of myth remains strong….

Dactyl Review Project

Created by and for the literary fiction community. See our latest review Witz by Joshua Cohen. Review by Jeffra Hays.

2010 Dactyl Literary Fiction Award Winner Publishes New Book

June 6, 2012

Escher’s Journal by Norman Lock is now available from ravennapress.com.

“I wrote this imaginary journal to explain a genuine interest in Escher’s work and to think as profoundly as I am able about the grand metaphysical notions that spellbind even the most cynical practitioner of the arts in our time: truth and semblance, the finite and the infinite, the temporal and the timeless, natural law and the dictates of unconscious life, dreaming and the creative imagination. (Those of us for whom to write is to consider ideas, playfully more often than not, seem never to tire of these oppositions.) And so Escher’s journal is also mine.” – Norman Lock, from the Afterword

Click on the cover to purchase the book from Amazon and 4-6% of your purchase price (at no additional cost to you) will go to support Dactyl Review.

Dactyl Review: literary fiction reviewed by and for the literary fiction community

Ongoing
A new online review of strictly literary fiction, created for and by the literary fiction community. For readers. As literary fiction disappears from the pages of major book reviews, it becomes harder to find good books to read. With tags for style and influence and easy access to excerpts, Dactyl Review is unlike any other fiction review site, helping readers find the particular kinds of “literary fiction” they prefer. Because we’re not a commercial site, we don’t favor the newest books or books by best-selling authors. We publish reviews of only the best literary fiction, older and new, as judged by other literary fiction writers. For writers. Helping to promote and support the kind of work you admire will help build a readership for your own work. Reviewers with the highest percentage of positive feedback will be noted in the top ten reviewers section. Go to dactylreview.org

Shelf Life: A literary fiction award that doesn't expire

Ongoing

For a number of years, publishing has been dominated by commercial fiction. Literary fiction novels and short story collections by small presses or independent authors have little chance of being noticed by reviewers or placed on bookstore shelves.  Even the literary fiction written by relatively well-known writers published by big houses has been pushed to the side by pseudo-literary fiction  — written and reviewed by those who don’t  know the difference between thought and sentimentality, poetry and the use of adjectives — such that the meaning of “literary” is lost. With the way the publishing system is currently organized, books aren’t given much time in front of judges and audiences. Those that don’t make it immediately are tossed in the remaindered bin. A deep pity, as literary fiction is slow-growing and takes time to find its audience. [continue...]

Dactyl Literary Award: Shadowplay by Norman Lock

January 1, 2011

Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press, 137 pages) by Norman Lock is the 2010 Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award recipient.  A dense fable, mixing magic realism with self-reflexivity….. See Dactyl Review.

NORMAN LOCK is the author of The King of Sweden (Ravenna Press), Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press), A History of the Imagination (FC2), ‘The Book of Supplemental Diagrams’ for Marco Knauff’s Universe (Ravenna Press), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press), and–writing as George Belden–Land of the Snow Men (from Calamari Press and in Japanese from Kawade Shobo). Two short-prose collections – Joseph Cornell’s Operas and Émigrés – were published by Elimae Books and subsequently issued, in Turkish, by an Istanbul publisher as part of its New World Writing series. Together with Grim Tales, they were brought out by Triple Press as Trio. Cirque du Calder, a hand-made artist’s book with afterword by Gordon Lish, was presented by The Rogue Literary Society. [continue...]

Josip Novakovich

September 29 2004

Josip Novakovich, reads from his novel, April Fool’s Day.

Book Fair

December 7 – 21 2002


Front Hall Book Fair Limited editions, hand-made, Poetry and Literary Fiction.

Open reading Dec 6th 6-8pm.

Josip Novakovich, reading with introduction by Victoria N. Alexander

Friday Oct. 25, 2002

Croatian-born Novakovich has published numerous works of fiction, including, Yolk and Salvation and Other Disasters. He received the Whiting Writer’s Award (1997), Guggenheim Fellowship (1999), two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1991 and 2002), and a fellowship at The New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers in 2001/02. Novakovich also teaches in the English Department at Penn State University.
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Artists 4 Ireland

March 16th 2000

St. Paddy’s Jam 2000, a poetry reading featuring Colum McCann, Tom Kelley and friends.

Murmur - poetry reading

September 24th 1998