A Short Review of None of the Above

Many thanks to Philadelphia poet and painter Peter Baroth for the following kind and generous post about my new novel:

I just recently had the good fortune to purchase and read the novel “None of the Above” (Unsolicited Press) by Michael Cocchiarale, a Professor at Widener and a colleague of Courtney K. Bambrick’s [Courtney is another fine local poet]. The book is a reward to anyone who pays the attention to read it, filled as it is with intelligent observations about coming of age in the last 20 years or so of the 20th century. It is, essentially, the story of the education of one Increase Alt, a Clevelander and a Catholic, at a time when both city and faith are in serious decline. It is also filled with dry wit and sharp metaphors and is a useful, if frequently ironic, manual for any of us perplexed by their higher – and perhaps whole – educations. And – for anyone WITH a college education – or more – I would dare to call it a “bildungsroman.” Take a short pause people and read a good book filled with interesting characters like this one!

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Lecture on Flash Fiction

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be giving a lecture on flash fiction (and many of its even flashier relatives) at the Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik at Greifswald University (Greifswald, Germany). I’ll be looking at everyone from Kate Chopin to Lydia Davis to Grant Faulkner to Lou Beach. Here’s the official announcement:

Veranstaltungsankündigung

Greifswald University’s North American Studies and the Greifswald Friends of North America cordially invite you to the guest lecture and reading by Professor Michael Cocchiarale (Widener University, USA):

How Little Is TOO Much?: Flash Fiction, Microfiction, Hint Fiction, and Almost Everything Between and Beyond

The lecture and reading will take place on June 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm in room 1.29, E.-Lohmeyer-Platz 3. For nearly the past thirty years, flash fiction has been enjoying a spectacular renaissance. Comprised of no more than 1000 words, these works have been collected in numerous anthologies and published in an ever-growing number of print and online journals. Some of these extremely brief fictions are conventional, with the familiar attributes and trajectory of a short story. Others are highly experimental, appropriating forms, delving into the fantastical and absurd, or eschewing expectations about characters and closure in order to tell old stories in startling new ways. During this renaissance, shorter and more intriguing subgenres have proliferated—microfictions, hint fiction, and twitter fiction, among others. This lecture will provide an overview of flash fiction and closely related works, highlighting key examples that test the limits of narrative–and perhaps the patience of the reader as well.

Flash Fiction in Greifswald

I’m in Greifswald, Germany this summer to teach a course on flash fiction–everything from Aesop to Amelia Gray. This is my third extended stay in this wonderful small town near the Baltic, so the place has begun to feel quite a bit like home.

Unrelated to flash fiction but as beautiful to me as concise and sterling prose:

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March Madness

Ink Alt, the protagonist of my novel None of the Above, is no basketball fan. In fact, he often recalls the horrors of being out on the court with his CYO team, dreading the next poor decision he was bound to make. In college, though, his school improbably qualifies for the NCAA tournament, and he–ever the follower–becomes swept up in the excitement of the matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers. Thought this would be an appropriate post for the opening weekend of March Madness.

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Fun Reading and Discussion at the Penn Book Center

On Wednesday, March 6th, I read from my novel None of the Above at the Penn Book Center, an awesome shop in University City. Doug Gordon, one of the great champions of local writers in Philadelphia, arranged the event, which also featured the talented and funny Chris Ludovici. Chris’s novel The Minors, which came out about a year and a half ago, is definitely worth a look. Like my novel, it’s available through Unsolicited Press: http://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/c8/Fiction.html

Here are some shots from the fun evening:

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