Alan Singer is the author of five previous novels, most recently The Inquisitor’s Tongue. He also writes about aesthetics and the visual arts. He is professor of English and a member of the MFA faculty in fiction at Temple University.
PLAY, A NOVEL
Writer-director Pan Fleet plans a new experimental play for the off-Broadway stage: Killer Killing Killers, a montage of murder scenes, aiming to provoke his audience’s ire with a work apparently amorally predicated on senseless violence. The plan is complicated by the intervention of his heart surgeon, who also fancies himself as a kind of “director” and by the surgeon’s wife, an empathy-challenged child psychologist who clashes with Pan’s leading lady.
The novel plays, so to speak, on the distinction between acting (doing something) and acting (playing a role). The narrative, which alternates between episodes of planning and rehearsing Pan’s play and scenes that will be performed on opening night, presents a fiercely satirical staging of the problems we face whenever we attempt to do justice to other people’s experience.
"Singer structures Play on a pattern of disorientation, followed by orientation, followed once more by disorientation – which is to say he draws us again and again to the event of reading itself, the sheer pleasure of unlearning and relearning…” – Lance Olsen, American Book Review
On Alan Singer’s previous novels:
“Beautifully erudite, ornate and appalling, The Inquisitor’s Tongue’s double-helixed narrative explores the intricate ligatures among brutality, art, artifice, taste, bliss, and the disease of consciousness called selfhood. Alan Singer is the virtuoso of avant-decadence.” – Lance Olsen
“Dirtmouth is a compelling and perfectly rendered meditation on the dark struggle between memory and forgetting.” – Brian Evenson
978-1-874400-77-6 270pp 2020