new & recent

Yet to Come

a novel from BlazeVox Books

Decades before #metoo, Cal chose his punishment for going too far with a girl he was crazy about: a life-sentence with a woman he could not love, whose frequent rages, untapped spending and ruthless children were his means to distract himself from longing and regret. The girl from his past also condemned him to periodic postcards bearing no return address. Rather than increasing his despair, the postcards helped stoke the imaginary life he maintained with her, including dialogue about his plight, images of her showing up while he plays his sax in a nightclub, and even sex, the very realm that had initiated her retreat from him. Meanwhile, with his wife Virginia, Cal encounters the death of a step-child, two unintended and entopic pregnancies; they find joy in beginning to raise a grandchild and grief when the child’s mother rips him away from them; repeated instances of being duped by pyramid sales schemes, and Virginia’s means of coping through hoarding. Cal can feel for Virginia’s utter frustration, but still has not found a way to love or be attracted to her, concluding that her rages at him are fair pay for the sham relationship he has imposed on her. He has quit playing his saxophone and retreated into daily necessities of maintaining life. Will he shake himself free of the “husk” he knows he’s become when the woman from his 40-year-old past finally offers him a way to contact her? All he knows of her life is from the postcards – she’s a professional dog-trainer, has had cancer, faced bankruptcy, and had a husband who disappeared via a scheme to change his identity. What Cal doesn’t know of her life is contained in inter-chapter vignettes where she imagines telling him the things that won’t fit on postcards, including her lifelong sexual aversion and numbness, her isolation in a sexually-charged world, the emptiness of having tried to lose her angst in a marriage of convenience, and the cruelty her despair allowed her to direct at her husband. Spanning 40 decades, these characters struggle equally with decisions made in desperation, regret, vulnerability, and loss of purpose, responding either with rage, ennui, or both. Then at the moment Cal discovers he might have lost himself when he gave up his music more than when he lost the girl, the postcard-writing phantom has realized her fear of sex obliterated her feelings for this boy she had known and who had known her, and she offers her email address. Finally, a life-altering decision that is only his, the first since he chose to take on a dysfunctional family’s chaos to blot his private misery.

“The layers of complexity in Cris Mazza’s work never cease to amaze. Yet to Come is a drama of yearning and dissatisfaction, obsession and dysfunction, love and hunger and music and the kinds of lies we tell ourselves and others, all the way down. A love story, a family saga, a narrative of “parallel perditions,” as one of the characters says, Yet to Come is a quintessentially American story, a history of the decades told in stinging dialogue and rich internal narrative, in postcards and journals and multiple layers of how we communicate, and how we can’t. The scenes from an unhappy marriage are some of the most compelling, hurtful, and true I’ve ever read. Dip in, you’ll be pulled along in a narrative that reveals itself in layers, unfolds itself subtly, lingers in the mind long after the book is closed.”     Rilla Askew, author of Fire in Beulah and Kind of Kin

“Cris Mazza has again written a many-sided gem of a book wherein every facet shines. Yet to Come is a vividly detailed and heart-wrenching story that illuminates the way people connect and disconnect, try and fail and try again to navigate the shifting landscape of love and intimacy. Written with profound empathy, Cal just may be today’s “Everyman,” struggling in relative obscurity with burdens of the present while mired in a past full of missed chances, missteps and regrets.”                    Debra DiBlasi, author of What the Body Requires and founder of Jaded Ibis Press

 order Yet to Come


Charlatan:  Cris Mazza’s New and Selected Stories

“Mazza’s newest works stand first and foremost as a supremely accomplished body of individual artistry. Again and again, what this collection showcases is Mazza’s rarest of talents: the ability to leave judgment out of exploration. . . . An impressive compendium of an important career—Mazza’s work shines.” —kirkus reviews ( starred review )

“The genius of Cris Mazza is to overturn every applecart she can reach.” —luis alberto urrea

“Cris Mazza takes no prisoners — and we wouldn’t want it any other way.” —rilla askew

“And now may you find way into the complexities, and convolutions, the deeply moving investigations at the heart of the work of Cris Mazza.” —rick moody



“Startling, candid, revelatory and revealing, but most of all brilliant — the collected stories of Cris Mazza are essential reading.”

—christine sneed, author of The Virginity of Famous Men


“One of the most widely published women writers of contemporary experimental prose, Cris Mazza is prolific but never predictable. Borrowing from her extensive catalog of award-winning fiction, this collection of new and selected stories highlights her luminous career of groundbreaking prose.  Marked with candor and brilliance, these provocative and introspective stories take risks and dare to delve into sexual politics and psychological realism in a way that challenges the formulas of mainstream fiction while offering a unique perspective on what it means to be female in America.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in experimental prose, literary fiction, or the depiction of women in contemporary culture.”

—aimee parkison, author of Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman


“[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 your times book review on Animal Acts (1989)  

“Literary sitcoms from hell . . . Ms. Mazza is a subversive, anarchistic writer . . . hardly forgettable.”
wall street journal on Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? (1991)

“ . . . similar to watching a porno flick and a game show simultaneously.”
columbus dispatch on Revelation Countdown (1993)

“[L]anguage in this short story collection cuts right to the bone
. . . With delicious satire, Mazza . . . illustrates our human frailties
and oddities, showing us that keeping our eyes and hearts open
is the best defense.”
library journal on Former Virgin (1998)

“ . . . pivotal moments in the lives of . . . emotionally fragile and
isolated characters . . . stifled and stymied, repressed, suppressed,
hung-up and damaged, lacking the imagination and courage for
adult relationships. [T]hese stories reflect those complicated and
divisive years with humor and insight.”
the short review on Trickle-Down Timeline (2009)