Sheila Ascher and Dennis Straus recent writing is another step in a long history of creating narratives outside traditional boundaries, beginning with a set of narratives in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s called “Space Novels” that turned public spaces into novels.
Their two volumes with Green Integer (ABC Street and Hank Forest’s Party, 2014), though traditionally published, are once again meant to model an alternate basis for fiction, an outward-looking autobiography/novel/philosophical journal, the narrator’s meditation on the passing world told in mini-narratives. They’re also exploring the resonance between the two traditionally published novel/journal volumes and a long, related, ongoing narrative called Monica’s Chronicle on their website (www.ascher-straus.com).
Ascher/Straus’s writing history also includes two novels and a novel-like volume of related stories (The Menaced Assassin, The Other Planet and Red Moon/Red Lake), alternative narratives in many forms published in journals, a novella (Letter to An Unknown Woman), and a long narrative/visual text, Discovery of the World, published by Hugh Fox’s Ghost Dance.
With all that, they see their novel-in-progress (excerpted here for the first time) as a departure from every other fiction they’ve written, even from whatever seems to resemble it most.