There Is No End to This Slope

Richard Fulco. Wampus Multimedia (www.wampus.com), $11.99 trade paper (258p) ISBN 978-0615919867
In Fulco's debut novel, textbook salesman John Lenza trudges through Brooklyn dragging a heavy suitcase full of books, and the old guilt he feels over the high-school death of his best friend, Stephanie. John tries to start over by marrying a spontaneous teacher named Emma, until her drinking and his refusal to stop writing letters to his dead friend drive them apart. John's failed marriage kick-starts a series of flawed intimacies—with Dawn, a married Broadway actress; homeless-man-turned-roommate Richard Pritchard; and Teeny, a giant, bald gay man from the cafe John frequents. As John's quest for love and artistic fulfillment spirals quickly downward into a dire struggle to keep a job and pay rent, this cast of would-be lovers and saviors becomes a Greek chorus echoing the same tragic advice: "you got to love yourself a little more." The novel is at its best in its most meta moments, like junkie oracle Havvanah who prophesies, and when John, Teeny, and friends do a read-through of a Teeny's play based on John's life. But just like the characters who get fed up with John's letter-writing and wasting away, the reader may feel the same way. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-0-9797471-7-5
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