John Colasacco is equal parts savant, madman, and humanist. The fiction he writes for the page may very well be the biographies of individuals from a parallel universe. Colasacco is channeling something utterly unique and it would be foolish of you not heed his words
John Colasacco, Two Teenagers, Horse Less Press, 2016.
"I like this book a lot. I found a lot of surprises in the way the sentences worked. I was taken down a path cognitively and then thrust into a situation that made me use my psychedelic brain. I like being asked to do that. TWO TEENAGERS seeks the dust and doorways that evoke emotive meaning. Each sentence unfolds new emotions through a kind of paced, unique, symbolic logic. Measurable phenomena + the liquid in which the answer skinny dips. Verificationism + a tree that survives on echoes. This book is full of feelings I'd forgotten I'd had."—Sommer Browning
You can read some excerpts from TWO TEENAGERS at Tarpaulin Sky +
Two teenagers turn around quickly expecting to see blue sparks or a person walking toward a house in an open field.
The rest of the day moves slowly while a paper lantern floats off and a young girl with graying hair bends down to kiss the sand.
There is a wound somewhere filling up with the sound of silent letters and the feeling of being too far away from a bridge.
By the time the fireflies come out someone has died on their way back to a great body of water but no one has been able to sense their absence yet.
Two teenagers come outside for a while and sit in the sun where people talk about what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.
In the distance the white car they’re all driving travels along a suburban road at a tremendous speed.
When they get to the beach there’s a window that’s not attached to a house and the ocean makes the sound of footsteps running up stairs.
They stop to take a breath not knowing that somewhere they are being thought of under moonlight by a twelve-year-old with a face like evening.
Two teenagers in bed with someone they have never seen in the light open their hands and dream of the souvenir shops.
They stop thinking about what it’s all right to like while a rabbit stands among trees watching over them.
The colors in their heads and the smell of the backyard are like an old friend pretending to kiss a shadow trapped in glass.
They want to say something about walking across the world from one sea to the next through the all the emptiness that’s been taken out of them.
Two teenagers run away together to a place where all the lonely are slaughtered.
When they get there, they find a table and a tree.
They leave a piece of bread on the counter in a bit of shadow, thinking that it expresses something they can’t articulate.
Soon an argument starts over whether the table has been brought outside or the tree is growing indoors.
On the table, an empty wine glass trembles.
Two teenagers disappear into a parking lot looking over their shoulders as though they are afraid someone has seen them.
Next to the parking lot is a three-story house with a faint grinding noise coming from inside.
A warm breeze blows as a woman with an accent whispers something to the whole world, first into one ear, then the other.
The wind dies down just long enough to make out what she’s saying.
“I used to live in that house.”
Two teenagers accidentally separate from each other somewhere in the parking lot.
Then night falls, and the parking lot empties, leaving only seagull feathers and broken glass.
By the light of the moon they track each other’s footprints the wrong direction until they are too tired to walk anymore.
“I’ll just wait here by this seagull feather,” one says.
Miles away the other rubs half a lightbulb until it glows.
John Colasacco, Antigolf, Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015.
"John Colasacco's Antigolf is not the opposite of golf or golf's antithesis. It is the world as if the world were a kind of game. It is both extremely important and completely pointless. It will make you think you are dreaming while you are reading it. Let's put things in a house. Now the house is full. Your mother is a tree. The piano fails as an instrument but fits nicely into the pool. And it's terrifying." - Chris Kennedy
John Colasacco, The Information Crusher, Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2016.
The Information Crusher is a crushing novella that's not only haunting: it's haunted. You leave it and it lurks nearby. It follows you. It is still following me. I don't want it to stop. - Ashley Farmer
John Colasacco owns a marvelous probing voice; his writing is always inviting and surprising–a multiplicity of vivid tones, as if language consists of colors primed for revelation. - Michael Burkard
John Colasacco is equal parts savant, madman, and humanist. The fiction he writes for the page may very well be the biographies of individuals from a parallel universe. Colasacco is channeling something utterly unique and it would be foolish of you not heed his words. We'll all be living in his universe in no time. - Michael J Seidlinger
Many of our stories follow a certain structure, one that feels as though it fits with causality, or rather what we wish causality meant. But slipping out from underneath such a definition can lead to experiencing a profound freedom of perspective. John Colasacco’s The Information Crusher is a case study in such an experience. The text is presented not as a puzzle with pieces meant to be rearranged “correctly” by the reader, but as the fragments of a shard of four-dimensional reality, intentionally smashed and left to create patterns based on existential whim. No judgment is forced on these patterns. They are allowed to be the product of random chance or the careful machinations of fate; sometimes both. The fragments have connective tissue that is readily apparent, but that tissue is not so binding as to prevent the reader from creating her or his own meaning.
If that point sounds intellectually vague, it is because The Information Crusher is so open to personal interpretation that any attempt to rigidly define it is terribly vulnerable to counterattack by contradiction. Is this book written in prose, poetry, or prose poetry? Are there multiple perspectives in the novel or is it a singular mind smashed into tense and time fragments like the text itself? Is the narrator only one of the characters or the author in some grandly mutated autobiography? Does the narrator address the reader or one of the characters, or does the act of reading the text make require the reader to become a character in Colasacco’s story? The real power of this book lies in, rather effortlessly, making the reader ask all of these questions while retaining both interest and intrigue. The whole of The Information Crusher explores the fluidity of identity, be it with respect to sexuality, gender, childhood, parenthood, siblinghood, friendship, cosmology, or biology, and it consistently remarks on the inadequacy of outdated definitions – “In the middle of the night you were amazed your mother’s clothes would go onto you just as easily as your own”. There is a story in the text, one of jealousy and consequence and need for acceptance, but discovering that story is akin to seeing the pieces of a former vase present in a mosaic.
There is a moment in the mosaic in which one of the primary characters falls off of a bridge that, for reasons made apparent through the novel, has a very direct metaphorical resonance. It is not entirely clear whether or not the fall happens before or after the events that make the fall poignant, but that is part of the point. The character injures his arm and says “But I wouldn’t admit to myself it was broken. I could see and hear that it was broken, but I refused to accept it. It felt like air blowing into a part of my armpit it had never touched before, nothing worse than that”. In the interest of creating subjective meaning from a novel that embodies subjective perspective, I see that quote as a critical theme running through the text. The character, a proxy for us, cannot accept that his body, his reality, his sense of self is broken. He has been presented with the sharpness of circumstance, that existence is not the neatly structured arrangement he took for granted, and he refuses to accept it – until, of course, he later passes out from the pain and injury that he refuses to acknowledge. This whole novel can be seen as a struggling and, at times, very brutal effort to escape from underneath a dominant ideology, as well as the violent, ignorant, and instinctive resistance against such movement.
This book deserves multiple reads from each of its readers, and readers of this book deserve to give themselves multiple angles from which it experience it. Like a puzzle with disfigured pieces or an unfastened mosaic, The Information Crusher paints a new picture with each pass, many of which I doubt even Colasacco intended. It is one of the most thoroughly engaging novels I have ever read, not because of immersion or agreeable tone, but because it has the frankness and trust in the intelligence of its readers required to make demands of them. It challenges you, in what language it chooses to include and leave out, in how it presents itself as a beautifully and intentionally unfinished idea, and in what river bank it deposits you on at the end. - John Venegas