David Leo Rice - David Lynch meets Neil Gaiman meets Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd


David Leo Rice, A Room in Dodge City, Alternating Current Press, 2017. 
Download Sneak Peek at Interior/Read Excerpt


A Room in Dodge City follows a nameless drifter into an American heart of darkness. In this nightmarish version of the historic Dodge City, mythic beasts crawl out of the woodwork; bizarre rituals are enacted; and death is never the end. Equal parts humor and horror-show, David Leo Rice’s novel combines the mundaneness of modern life—motels, strip malls, temp jobs—with something stranger, darker, and more eternal. Told through linked vignettes that read like metaphoric fairytales gone wrong, Dodge City consumes the reader just as it slowly consumes the drifter, leaving all to wonder whether any of us can ever truly escape this world—or our own.


 
“A Room in Dodge City is the beatific son who materialized from the thermals of a Lynchian desert and then drifted from town to town until finally doing time, only to be paroled on work release to save the world, not by changing your life so much as by readjusting your understanding of the life that you’ve been living. At the same time, Rice cares deeply about his characters and this comes out in every vignette. He doesn’t follow the nihilistic postmodern structure by declaring that life is meaningless or hopeless. What we do find is the presence of hope in all things, no matter how run-down they might appear on the surface.”—Joe Halstead

“The writing is David Lynch meets Neil Gaiman meets Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd. Just as Dodge City is a place the narrator can never leave, Rice’s book sucks you in and doesn’t let you walk out of it intact, either.”—Nick Antosca
“What might happen if Edvard Munch knew alt-folk, lived in the U.S., and decided to paint directly on the inside of his own skull rather than on canvas. A deeply odd book that still possesses enormous resonance.”—Brian Evenson
“Last night in Dodge City, the zeitgeist saw its doppelgänger. Last night in Dodge City, American culture committed suicide and its pineal gland pumped DMT into the water mains. With a draftsman’s hand and a psychonaut’s eye, David Rice has mapped the alien precinct in which we already live. I’ve never encountered a book so strange yet so familiar. Writers such as William Burroughs and Samuel Delany may have helped prepare the ground, but this high-speed, controlled drift across it is all Rice’s own.”—Joanna Ruocco
“Don’t enter into David Leo Rice’s terrifying and hilarious fictional multiverse looking for causality, continuity, or logic, as we know them. Do and never, really, leave. A Room in Dodge City will plunge you into a nightmarish warren-maze where somewhere, amid the numberless trapdoors, inner chambers and branching halls on branching halls, a literary orgy is going down among the imaginative intellects of Blake Butler, Kathryn Davis, Haruki Murakami, Livia Llewellyn, and Robert Coover, refereed by Cronenberg and Lynch.”—Adrian Van Young
“A Room in Dodge City is a vivid, precisely described nightmare filled with jokes for people who think nothing is funny anymore. David Leo Rice imagines American pop culture as a Hieronymus Bosch painting come to life, and he gives us a carnival barker’s tour through a disturbing landscape of lost souls, vain ambitions, and distorted identities, ultimately finding a path to redemption through the spiritual wreckage.”—Mark Beauregard
“Like Dodge City itself, David Rice’s novel has a heart of infinite evil. Rice’s imagination and wit make this journey into the deepest pits of hell much more fun than it should be. Readers shouldn’t hesitate to book a room.”—John Dermot Woods
“In his mind-boggling debut novel, David Leo Rice conjures a series of seemingly unassuming vignettes that read like a revelatory prose poem written by the Zodiac Killer; my favorite kind of literature. There’s something to be said about masks and face masks, but also, the character of The Night Crusher or, how Zodiac Killer wishes he were The Night Crusher. Wow! A Room in Dodge City is a celebration of what it means to know that you know that you can never know everything.” —Mike Kleine

“Unsettling and unsettled, reading David Rice’s A Room in Dodge City is like reading Jakob von Gunten’s dream journal the day after he’d stayed up late to watch High Plains Drifter and Videodrome. An impossible mix of the antic and the sinister.”—Gabriel Blackwell

“David Rice’s A Room in Dodge City warps the serial format to its own uncanny ends. It begins with a stranger arriving in a new town, but that’s the last conventional move in this spellbinding and cinematic novel. You’ll soon encounter toilet crucifixes, suicide students, and rock stars on vacation from being dead. Briskly paced with elegantly streamlined prose, the book follows its own impeccably strange and addictive dream logic.”—Jeff Jackson

“In A Room in Dodge City, David Rice has made good on the promise of the disturbing forays into the surrealism of everyday life that are his short stories. Dodge City is a walk on the dark side of the contemporary imagination that reworks the post-realist storytellings of Donald Barthelme or Henri Michaux into a voice that is unique. A Room in Dodge City is a picaresque novel for the age of the Darknet and Tor.”—Simon Pummell
Recent Work
A Room in Dodge City: Vol. 3 (serialized novel)
Lazy Eye Stories (graphic novel)


Short Stories
Normal Stigmata (in Volume 1 Brooklyn)
The Hate Room (in The New Haven Review)
Gmunden (in The Collagist)
Living Boy (in Black Clock)
In The Cabin Up On Stilts (in Black Clock)
Out on the Coast (in The Rumpus)
On the Murder of Nicola Teensmah (in Nat. Brut)
Joey in Vermont (in The Opiate)
Seed Room (in Hobart)
Eric's Towing (in The New Haven Review)
Housesitter (in Birkensnake)
Egon's Parents (in The Last Magazine)
Jack & Emily Texas Roadside Incident, Summer 2012 (in Identity Theory)
Night Surgeon / Arm Neighbor: A Bicoastal Romance (in Literati Quarterly)
At First I Tried to be Someone (in Pithead Chapel)
You You You Snuffed Yourself (in Spork)
Lazy Eye Excerpt (in Nat. Brut)
Ainsworth Gym (in The Bad Version)
A Visit from Transmission Man Marks the Beginning of the End (in The Bad Version)
Drifter Jim (in The Harvard Advocate)
Dawson's Creaak (in The Harvard Crimson)

LEO RICE is a writer and animator from Northampton, Massachusetts, currently living in New York City. His stories have appeared in Black Clock, The Collagist, Birkensnake, Hobart, The Rumpus, The New Haven Review, Identity Theory, Nat. Brut, and elsewhere. This is his first novel. He has a B.A. in Esoteric Studies from Harvard University and can be found at raviddice.com and at @raviddice on Twitter.

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