Catalog

 

trickleTrickle-Down Timeline

short fiction

The title-story, “Trickle-Down Timeline,” which swims within a timeline of carefully selected items from the Reagan presidency, sets the tone for the collection: The “new” conservativism in American politics, which essentially began with Reagan, is a backdrop designed to color these stories about individual people struggling with their own lives in the era just before computers, at the dawn of “safe sex,” for a sub-generation of people who came of age without a war in Vietnam to unite them.  The book’s format allows this title story to tint and launch the rest of the collection, arranged with each corresponding to a year from the 1980s.

“Cris Mazza chronicles the 80s as the media would like us to forget them, a decade not dictated by yuppies driving Porsches and dining on nouveau cuisine, but by financially struggling young couples and allegedly liberated women whom the myth of “having it all” has left with little.  Trickle-Down Timeline encapsulates the Reagan era with more ingenuity and genuineness than a dozen Bright Lights, Big Cities and Less Than Zeros, and proves that Mazza’s reputation as a formal innovator is still going strong, and is coupled here with the emotional wisdom that comes with hard-won experience.” — Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men and Slut Lullabies

waterbabyWaterbaby

a novel

“Titled after the Charles Kingsley fairy tale, this dizzying novel opens on epileptic, prematurely retired Tam Marr-Burgess, who is pushing 46, and whose attempt to collude with her landlady in a minor fraud goes very bad. The result is an immediate, spectacular eviction. As Tam lights out from the Chicago suburbs, Mazza sets up several parallel narratives, each of which has echoes of the other: Tam is headed for the family enclave in Maine, where she had her first seizure when swimming at school, was either saved (the official story) or sabotaged (Tam’s version) by her elder brother, Gary, and never swam again. On arriving, she rescues an infant from a Laundromat toilet, and then hides the baby and its petulant teen mother at the family lighthouse. She also joins her amateur genealogist sister, Martha, in digging up information on three mysterious figures: a baby saved from the waves by Tam’s lighthouse-keeper ancestors, a relative named Mary Catherine, and a local ghost-all of whom may have things to tell them about their own lives.”  — Publisher’s Weekly

“A gripping tale of compulsion, obsession, and forgiveness, set so evocatively amidst the fogs and furies of the offseason Maine coast. It’s also an intriguing exploration of the ways in which our ancestral pasts echo within our own psyches.” —  Lisa Alther, author of Kinflicks and Kinfolks

“Shipwrecks, doomed lovers, family secrets, sea-babies, toilet-babies, and historical-reenactment sex are but a few of the facets of this deftly kaleidoscopic novel. With Waterbaby, Cris Mazza shows us how, through resuscitating our pasts, and rescuing each other, we might just save ourselves.” — Alex Shakar, author of Luminarium and Savage Girl

disabilityDisability

a novel

Probing deeply into the world of the severely disabled, often told in a broken shorthand, this short novel describes a government-run institution where patients, caregivers, and the state itself seem malformed and dysfunctional. Teri and Cleo are minimum-wage caretakers in a ward for severely disabled children. They are expected to feed, bathe, clothe, and carry out the required therapies for their patients within a system where funding is only continued if therapy produces improvement. But the state-paid therapists know their patients cannot improve. As their personal failures begin to emulate the travesties occurring in the ward, Teri and Cleo gradually succumb to the collapse of their own balancing act.   [Review by Lydia Netzer.]

“Bold readers, brace yourselves. Cris Mazza has found the perfect subject for her high-energy prose and her pitch-black compassion: an Institution serving, and staffed by, the ‘disabled.’ Mazza’s sexually confused caregivers and the doomed exuberant boy they love all come to frightening life. But calling this a ‘slice of’ life would diminish it: DISABILITY is as dense, relentless, tender, savage and strange as moment-by-moment life itself, conjured on the page whole.”  — Elizabeth Searle author of Girl Held in Home and Celebrities in Disgrace 

manywaysMany Ways To Get It, Many Ways To Say It

a novel

In the 80’s a 20-something young woman advertises her services as a model to photographers. She discovers their weaknesses, seduces them, then extorts them by claiming to be under-age. In the 90’s a 40-something man is married to a doctor who only views him as a sexual object. He embarks on a who’s-kissing-who / who’s-saying-what-to-who misadventure that only an adolescent should have. In these two reversals of sexual harassment and gender-inferiority, Mazza explores such issues as the language of bodies, sexual desirability as an innate urge, latent adolescence, plus what the genders share … and what they can never share.  [Review by Debbie Lee Wesselman]

 

Indigenous - amazon

Indigenous: Growing Up Californian 

personal essays

“Cris Mazza’s stunning memoir worries the notions of belonging… Her tales of her native California expertly excavate an always surprising and always rewarding experience cache. It is a book about scourging, scouring, and scoring (in the musical sense) the stuff, the scraps that make up the worlds we remember and the worlds we inherit.”  — Michael Martone, author of Not Normal, Illinois and The Flatness and Other Landscapes

“… Mazza reveals a normality beneath the California myth that seems all the more… exotic with the passage of time.” — Los Angeles Times

“Mazza’s… experience is rooted not in image but in a primal connection to the land itself. ”  Chicago Tribune

homeland

Homeland

a novel

“A versatile and probing novelist, Mazza is at her clarion best in this riveting improvisation on the lost world chronicled in her memoir, Indigenous: Growing up Californian (2003). Ronnie works in the geriatric hospital in which her stroke-afflicted father lives, but Medicare patients such as he are being forced to leave, and she decides that now is the time to attend some mysterious, unfinished business involving the remains of her brother and mother, whose shocking deaths have so cruelly oppressed her. But their odd quest is interrupted by a pack of violent suburban teens. Rescued by a handsome and enigmatic migrant worker advocate, Ronnie and her father follow his lead and seek shelter deep in the canyons. As they struggle to survive, their tragic past unfolds in vivid flashbacks, and Mazza’s mythic and mesmerizing tale charts the cruel paradoxes inherent in migrant worker’s lives. Vital in its intimacy with the earth and archetypal in its sorrows and redemption.”  — Donna Seaman, Booklist

girlbesidehimGirl Beside Him

a novel

“Her fiction…has teeth…A gifted editor of innovative fiction by women, Cris Mazza is also one of its most audacious practitioners.”  Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award winner for author of Lord of Misrule

 dog peopleDog People

a novel

“Provocative . . . Dialogue and characterization are among the strong suits in Mazza’s emotionally charged novel, in which she demonstrates that the reciprocal capacity for devotion between dogs and humans is at least as powerful as the most self-serving and venal human motives.”  Library Journal

Former VirginFormer Virgin

short fiction

“Mazza’s language in this short story collection cuts right to the bone… With delicious satire, Mazza, a PEN Nelson Algren Award winner, illustrates our human frailties and oddities, showing us that keeping our eyes and hearts open is the best defense.”  Library Journal

sex harrassmentIs It Sexual Harassment Yet?

short fiction

“Literary sitcoms from hell… Ms. Mazza is a subversive, anarchistic writer… hardly forgettable.”   Wall Street Journal

 

 

 

 your name hereYour Name Here: ____

a novel

“The theme of naming — its difficulty, its arbitrariness, the potential for multiple names — grounds Mazza’s new novel, paradoxically, by unsettling it. In this narrative of female rage, the ambiguity of abuse and the difficulty of negotiating a meaningful life as a woman in America, the author of Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? stays with themes she has handled provocatively in the past and continues to work with passion, insight and a certain cold beauty.”     Publisher’s Weekly

ExposedExposed

a novel “A deftly written, disturbing novel.”   Publisher’s Weekly “A fascinating, unsettling tale.”   Booklist

Revelation CountdownRevelation Countdown

short fiction With images by Ted Orland

“…similar to watching a porno flick and a game show simultaneously.” —Columbus Dispatch

how to leaveHow to Leave a Country

a novel

Pen/Nelson Algren Award Winner “Talent jumps off her like an overcharge of electricity… Mazza refuses to clarify, to give into realism or allegory. She prefers to let the ripples of her puzzle carry us into the murk at the edge of the pool… To stir us with those lyrical, savage scenes.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Animal ActsAnimal Acts

short fiction

“[These stories] are remarkable for the force and freedom of their imaginative style. Ms. Mazza’s characterizations often have the stark quality of black-and-white sketches. And her portraits of suffering are tempered with a fey humor.”   —New York Times Book Review

 

Edited Volumes

Men UndressedMen Undressed: Women Writers on the Male Sexual Experience

edited by Cris Mazza, Gina Frangello, Kat Meads and Stacy Bierlein

Chick-Lit 2Chick-Lit 2: No Chick Vics

edited by Cris Mazza, Jeffrey DeShell and Elisabeth Sheffield

Chick LitChick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction

edited by Cris Mazza and Jeffrey DeShell