The Laughter of Strangers by Michael J. Seidlinger

8 Jan

the laughter of strangers

‘SUGAR’ WILLEM FLOURES

That’s a name I built from the ground up. I wasn’t the first to systematically climb the ranks, beating the sugar out of everyone I had known to be inferior, leaving only the sour taste of defeat, my claim forever being:

“I am the greatest!”

I can still hear it now. In the silence of this locker room, blood drying on my face, I can still hear those words.

And I was. I was the greatest.

JAB

LEFT HOOK

JAB

LEFT HOOK

RIGHT HOOK

JAB

STRAIGHT

TO THE BODY:

JAB

JAB

POWER SHOT STRAIGHT

POWER SHOT STRAIGHT

UPPERCUT

And then a voice says, “‘Sugar’… you are no longer sweet with the science.”

Praise for The Laughter of Strangers

The Laughter of Strangers delivers a combination of psychological horror and strangeness that would not be out of place in a David Lynch film. Seidlinger’s weird new fight fiction suggests that perhaps the best place for boxing contests isn’t in the ring but between the pages of a book.” The Los Angeles Times

“Like a ghost fretting over its lost body (or is it bodies? – in this book whatever you think of as ‘you’ might simply float like a butterfly right into someone else’s body) a boxer attests to his presence, damaged and shimmery though it may be. That this fractured first person narrator feels the need to put the word ‘me’ in quotes speaks volumes. Terrifying volumes. This elastic, hurtling narrative pivots (and pivots again) on a recurring image of almost unimaginable dread – that of being laughed at in your hour of need by an audience of strangers.” – Grace Krilanovich, author of The Orange Eats Creeps

“The bare-bones prose within The Laughter of Strangers is heartbreaking, bleak, and stays with you long after finishing the book. This one should not be ignored.” – Frank Bill, author of Donnybrook

“Michael J. Seidlinger’s The Laughter of Strangers is vicious and unforgettable. Willem Floures’ search for meaning in a world that keeps knocking him off his feet is as gritty and enthralling as a fight. The Laughter of Strangers destroyed my expectations of what a boxing novel can be. Seidlinger is charting new narrative territory, and we should follow him wherever he goes.” – Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth  

“The last time I got punched in the face (by someone I wasn’t married to or dating) I was 16 years old. What began as an exchange of witty banter, turned into a pummeling. Never make jokes about a man’s mother enjoying the erotic companionship of goats, or you’ll find out about this world. The Laughter of Strangers is like that beating. I never trust people who use a middle initial, but Michael J Seidlinger is different. If the Laughter of Strangers had a middle initial it would be an F. And that F would stand for ‘Fuck yes.’ I’m on my back. I’m having my behavior corrected. It’s teaching me a lesson. And I can see stars.” – Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia

“Steeped in noir, Michael J Seidlinger’s superb boxing novel delivers 12 rounds of sweet science and shifting identities. Both physical and philosophical, it’ll leave the reader with a complicated bruise – the closer you examine it, the more it resembles your own face.” – Jeff Jackson, author of Mira Corpora

“Michael J. Seidlinger has given us the boxing novel of the year. The Laughter of Strangers is a tough and gritty book that will challenge you page after page, but it is oh so worth it.” Flavorwire

“Seidlinger’s stripped down prose resembles a boxer that possesses both graceful footwork and devastating power: it’s rough and fast, but given to bursts of eloquence, humor, and philosophy.” Bookslut

“Seidlinger does odd and marvelous things in making abstract aspects of identity concrete at the same time that he makes concrete aspects of identity abstract.” Tweed’s Magazine

Order The Laughter of Strangers from Amazon
Order The Laughter of Strangers from Powell’s
Order The Laughter of Strangers from Barnes & Noble

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