front cover of Arthouse
A Novel
Jeffrey DeShell
University of Alabama Press, 2011
An audacious transformation in prose of fourteen Modernist films

From film to film, Jeffrey DeShell follows a forty-something failed film studies academic—The Professor. While The Professor is reinvented with each new chapter (or film), what remains is DeShell’s inventive deconstruction and representation of modern cinema. At times borrowing imagery, plot, or character elements, and at times rendering lighting, rhythm, costuming, or shot sequences into fictional language, The Professor’s journey sends him from the Southwestern town of Pueblo, Colorado, into the role of rescuer as he aids an attempted-rape victim, and finally to Italy. Ultimately though, The Professor is left alone, struggling to reconcile the real world with his life in cinema.

front cover of Chick Lit 2
Chick Lit 2
No Chick Vics
Chris Mazza, Jeffrey DeShell, and Elisabeth Sheffield
University of Alabama Press, 1996
The follow-up volume to Mazza and DeShell’s hugely popular Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction
Chick-Lit 2: No Chick Vics features new work by Rikki Ducornet, Eurydice, Elizabeth Graver, Ursule Molinaro, and fourteen other witty and deadly serious writers.
Chick-Lit 2 discovers new and alternative voices in women’s fiction whose stories do not involve trauma that comes from the outside. As Mazza writes in her introduction, “Sexual assaults and harassments and injurious poor body images do exist and have waged a war on women (the American Medical Association says so). But for this book, I was interested in seeing what action(s) women characters can incite on their own, whether bad or good, hopeful or dead-end, progressive or destructive.”

front cover of Chick Lit Postfeminist Fiction
Chick Lit Postfeminist Fiction
Cris Mazza
University of Alabama Press, 2000
Original fiction of newly discovered writers and award winning work of notable writers
Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction is the fourth volume in “On the Edge: New Women’s Fiction,” FC2’s ongoing effort to discover new and innovative voices in women’s fiction. Determined to contradict the myth that “women don't write experimental fiction,” Chick-Lit discovers women writers with a fresh and irreverent wit and honesty, but no less powerful in their rendering of human experience.

Chick-Lit collects the original fiction of newly discovered writers, but also the award winning work of notable writers like Carole Maso, Jonis Agee, Stacy Levinne and Carolyn Banks. Marked by innovations in form and point-of-view, the writers in this collection are not satisfied with the terrain commonly referred to as “women’s writing.” Insane asylum sex, board games that control people’s lives, a masochistic pedophile humiliated by his victim, an obese woman paying nickels and quarters for attention from teenage girls, a deranged hair stylist and her disloyal dog, a men's impotence therapy group, a surreal landscape constantly producing the body of a woman's mother: this is writing that shouts, yes, there is such a thing as postfeminist fiction.

front cover of Expectation
A Francesca Fruscella Mystery
Jeffrey DeShell
University of Alabama Press, 2013
On the surface a murder mystery—a detective’s search for the killer of five people in Denver—Expectation is also, among other things, a meditation on the relationship between language and music.

In his newest novel, Jeffrey DeShell draws on the musical innovations of Arnold Schoenberg—by turns traditional, serial, and atonal—to inform his grammar and language. Moving progressively through specific Schoenberg compositions, DeShell complicates the surface of his text into lyrical derivatives, all the while drawing us into a murder mystery like no other as Detective Francisca Fruscella pursues both the killer and her own complicated personal history.

By turns rapturous, rigorous, and gripping, Expectation is a thriller of another kind—and a bold venture to the limits of the mystery genre and language itself.

front cover of Masses and Motets
Masses and Motets
A Francesca Fruscella Mystery
Jeffrey DeShell
University of Alabama Press, 2019
A crime novel loosely based on the masses and songs of the 17th century Flemish composer Pierre de la Rue

Masses and Motets is a tale composed of four basic interwoven threads, corresponding to the four-part choral writing of Pierre de la Rue’s service music. The first thread comes from the diaries of a recently murdered priest, Father Andrea Vidal, former secretary to the notorious Father Marcial Maciel. The second thread is the mystery story, a police procedural focusing on the efforts of Denver detective Francesca Fruscella to solve the murder and retrieve Vidal’s diary. The third strand is the story of Father Signelli, a priest sent from the Vatican to “fix” the murder. And the fourth strand explores the best and worst of Catholic culture: art and music created by Catholic artists and sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Vidal’s narrative is the story of a priest who systematically, sincerely, and hopefully tries to destroy his very self through sex, drinking, and drugs in order to get closer to God. Fruscella’s story is that of a middle-aged, female detective trying to solve a ghastly murder while constantly battling the sexism of the Catholic Church. Signelli’s tale is that of an older career priest who, in doing the bidding of his superiors to fix problems that threaten the order of the Church, has perhaps compromised his own soul. By no means a simple narrative of wicked priests, this is a story of men who desperately want to believe, as well as a story of what this belief might shelter and cost.

front cover of The Trouble with Being Born
The Trouble with Being Born
A Novel
Jeffrey DeShell
University of Alabama Press, 2008
Novel, memoir, and anti-memoir, The Trouble with Being Born depicts the lives of Frances and Joe, husband and wife. Told in their own alternating voices, they recall their lives, separately and together, and the divergent trajectories of their origins and aspirations.
Frances's story moves in reverse: beginning with her dementia in old age, her narrative moves backwards into lucidity, through a cruel and loveless marriage, the birth of her son Jeffrey, and into a childhood that she recalls fondly as a time of innocence and belonging.
Joe's memories begin in childhood, a bewildered boy struggling with poverty, racism, and isolation, and we watch him grow into a manhood fraught with wrong turns, rage, betrayals, and disappointment, caring in the end for the woman he has long mistreated.
The Trouble with Being Born is a stark meditation on memory and the struggle–both necessary and impossible–to remember.

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter