We were aware of John as a writer when this manuscript arrived--it was actually submitted for a contest and was one of the last collections we were still considering. While it didn't win that year's contest, it wasn't one that we were willing to let see linger for another year or two before being accepted somewhere, nor did we want to see somebody else as the publisher on the spine. Movieola! was published June 2016.
A collection of linked short stories that delights in and exploits the language and paraphernalia of industrial Hollywood.
The collection delves into a night at the movies, featuring all the familiar types—the rom-com, the action-adventure, the superhero, and the spy—but the narratives are still under construction, and every storyline is an opportunity for the unimaginable twist. Motive and identity are constantly shifting in these short stories that offer both narrative and anti-narrative, while the stunted shop-talk of the movie business struggles to keep up.
With the wit of Steve Erickson’s Zeroville and the inventive spirit of Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, John Domini offers a collection at once comical and moving, care- fully suspended between a game of language and a celebration of American film.
PRAISE FOR “MOVIEOLA!”
“A remarkable, droll meditation on film; in particular, on film genre; more particularly still, on how all great works of art either invent a genre or dissolve one.”
—David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and War is Beautiful
"Movieola! is a glory -- smart, cutting and funny. John Domini moves through the absurd tropes of modern Hollywood with menace and glee, and eventually gets to that scary place where we all dwell, our delusional but self-sustaining personal movies flickering inside our skulls, all of us bit players praying for a major arc."
“If you've had it with the movies, John Domini in Movieola! will tell you, friskily, why.”
"In Movieola!, John Domini reveals himself as one of the rarest (and best) types of satirist, a writer as interested in the lives of his characters as he is inventive parody and sharp commentary. The voices we hear speaking in his stories are as captivating as the world of film they describe, with each new character delivering a striking performance within the theater of the page."
—Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
“Reading John Domini is always the smartest kind of fun – and beneath the brainy humor, the delicious wordplay, and the wry observations, there's a warm beating heart and a giddy excitement for our most egalitarian art form. Everyone who loves movies will love this book.”
—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World and Other Stories
“Like Coover’s A Night at the Movies, Movieola! demonstrates a lover’s attentiveness to the mannerisms and conventions of film. What Domini sneaks into the theater under his jacket, however, is a slyly disruptive deployment of the language of Hollywood insiderdom and wannabe insiderdom — the parody is unstinting, but the souls of the characters are never neglected. Two thumbs up!”
PRAISE FOR JOHN DOMINI’S FICTION
"Streetwise and pain-acquainted, John Domini's new story-collection is a good rich read indeed."
—John Barth on Highway Trade
“John Domini has brilliantly turned one of literary fiction’s neatest tricks: he has vividly and accurately evoked a past time and milieu—the alternative cultural scene of the mid-’70s—and in the process he has illuminated our own times with dazzling clarity. Talking Heads: 77 also manages to be both cutting-edge innovative and splendidly readable. This book is a flat-out delight.”
—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 1993
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With Movieola!, John Domini has three stories collections and three novels in print. Other books include selections of criticism and poetry. He’s published fiction in Paris Review and Ploughshares, non-fiction in GQ and the New York Times, and won a poetry prize from Meridian. Grants include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The New York Times praised his work as "dreamlike... grabs hold of both reader and character," and Alan Cheuse, of NPR, described it as "witty and biting." He has taught at Harvard, Northwestern and elsewhere and makes his home in Des Moines.