Haunted Girlfriend – James Nulick
The acclaimed and accomplished author of Valencia and Distemper returns with a collection of seven unclassifiable, genre-bounding, style-splicing stories spanning the thematic breadth of a novel, seven stories of modern alienation, techocratic dystopia and embattled love. In veiled tributes to male models and ex-basketball players, James Nulick delves unblinkingly into scarred psyches and the mentally ill fringe, examining soul-harming designer drugs, desperate homelessness and wasteful capital punishment with radar eyes on the clinical, dog ears tuned to the humane. The nature of cruelty is confronted in “Peach,” a searing portrait of abuse and trauma. In “Husk,” Nulick subverts the macabre to cross-examine aging, decrepit libido and codependency. In “Vinyl-Hearted Boy,” Nulick punctuates the eras of his youth through music and frank sexuality with a poignant tenderness and rhythm in his heart. Adolescent prurience and wide-eyed exploration, as well as a longing for the familial, glows off the page in “The Most Beautiful Question in the World.” And, in the novella-length centerpiece “Body by Drake,” a sprawling creation to single-handedly spawn new literary movements, a future world both bleak and arrestingly human is imagined— a love triangle, Biblical themes and satire of corporate culture collide in dazzling, heartrending fashion. Like a breathtaking album that’s over much too quickly, you’ll want to reread Haunted Girlfriend the second you turn the last page. This is no less than a virtuoso shrug from a master of forms, a writer who gleefully flies in the face of rules and orthodoxy to remind us why we read, to expand our minds and empathy, a writer impartial to evil, unafraid to walk among the wretched, the crestfallen, and the nuanced, shadowy contours of this world with the irrepressible fascination of a preternatural saint. Nulick’s stethoscope to the human condition serves as a penetrating diagnostic of our times and the frightening days to come. His writing is invariably informed by the bracing audacity and radical clarity of a life fully-lived and learned, dangerously and poetically, with concessions to no authority. Make contact with strange life while you’re on this rock. Haunted Girlfriend is a once-in-a-lifetime literary homecoming. Let your heart break so it can form again, open.
5.5 x 8.5″. 198 pages perfect-bound. Cover Art by Arturo Herman Medrano.