Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories
By Kirk Marshall

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Enter a carnivalesque world where reality is phantasmagoric in vision. This is a rich, riotous world of heartbroken sinners and first-time saints.

The title novella concerns the Rabelaisian exploits of one Efim Barnum Bank Zaslavsky – a Russian-Jewish carnival exhibitionist – and his anachronistic, wandering gypsy caravan in pursuit of a fabled wolf across contemporary Japan. Both peril and fortune beckon this travelling comic-tragedian sideshow riot.

The other stories in this collection also favour individuals trapped within worlds both real and mythic, those struggling to identify sense amidst chaos, and competing to dispossess themselves of pains both present and forgotten against new carnivalesque terrains. These are the world’s tiny, sordid, tormented and beautiful people with their feet of clay: unsung heroes who, upon discovering the illegitimacy of their plights for love and glory, maintain their purpose – if only for the value of the joke.

Read the preface to Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories These Kids Today, David Foster Wallace & a Reflection on Style

What they’re saying

Diabolically verbose, Carnivalesque: And, Other Stories is a joyous, demented orchestra of prose. Reading it is like being pulled into an intoxicating Japanese fug, and you’ll sometimes wonder whether Marshall has, indeed, drugged you. These aren’t stories for people with short attention spans (and you might not always understand what is happening), but pull the pages close: there is gold to be found in amongst this ensemble cast of misfits. — Benjamin Law, author of The Family Law

Kirk Marshall is a gifted wordsmith, a writer’s writer, and the Australian bearer of the tradition of the Beats. Like his forbear, Jack Kerouac, his prose lands like a flurry of punches, and you read him in a happy daze, words sparkling and fading like fireworks, jumping with vitality. Every story in this collection counts big. — Patrick Holland, Miles Franklin Award-longlisted author of The Mary Smokes Boys

Carnivalesque: And, Other Stories is a giddy, vertiginous whorl of comic absurdities embroidered in a baroque, Melvillean prose that pushes syntax to its very limits — a healthy dose of literary nitrous oxide that could only issue from Marshall’s delightfully warped, sesquipedalian talent. — Emmett Stinson, author of Known Unknowns

Donald Barthelme’s banter, Kenneth Patchen’s dialect, Alfred Jarry’s sense of occasion — all converging to track a lone surviving wolf dwelling in the vast forests of Hokkaido, a vastness only exceeded by the immensity of Marshall’s imagination. — David F. Hoenigman, author of Burn Your Belongings

Kirk Marshall has perfected “Carnie Fiction” with this offering of bold, sentimental, incendiary and comic prose. As we all line up outside the circus of new fiction, Kirk Marshall has cut to the front of the line. — Trevor Richardson, author of American Bastards

“Carnivalesque” is perhaps the perfect word to sum up Kirk Marshall’s writing. Like a fireworks display, it gives the impression of chaos and hypercolour, but is in fact instead a meticulously planned and executed feat of skillful timing and untethered imagination. It’s safe to say you’d have to traverse innumerate carnivals before you’ll find anything quite like this collection. A great work. — Christopher Currie, author of The Ottoman Motel

Reading Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories is more akin to witnessing astounding feats of live performance, in all their frenetic glory. Marshall uses language to craft his imagery with all the skill of an acrobatic contortionist. This collection is sheer literary bravado! — Amy Barker, author of Omega Park

Carnivalesque, And: Other Stories offers the reader pages of fine language surfeit with stark startles of description and a compelling obliquity of circumstance/setting. — Joshua Cohen, author of Witz