Originally from Brooklyn, New York, author, poet, playwright, and performer, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of two novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale and Raking the Dust, a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, and a children’s book, Once Upon a Time: Classic Fables Reimagined. Broken Land was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
Unsolicited Press, an indie press out of Portland, OR, has released a second edition of Raking the Dust, and will be doing the same with Broken Land (August 2018), leading up to the release of his new novel, Nocturne Variations (November 2018).
In this rogue’s tale, full of sound, fury, and surrealism, we meet Alex Fillameno, a writer who has traded in the machine-grind of New York for a bare-bones existence in the high desert town of Taos, New Mexico. Recently divorced and jobless, Fillameno has become a regular at The End of the Road, the bar where he first encounters the alluring and enigmatic D.J., a singer and musician. Drawn to her mutable sense of reality, the two begin a romance that starts off relatively normal. When D.J. initiates Alex into the realm of sexual transfiguration, however, their lives turn inside-out, and what follows is an anti-hero’s journey into a nesting doll world of masks and fragments, multiples and parallels, time-locks and trauma; a world in which reality is celluloid and what you see is never what you get.
It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, just coarse and ingrown, with too many nerves wired to the same frequency. Comprised of five stories and a novella, Freeze Tag takes you inside the heart of Bensonhurst, the “Little Italy” of Brooklyn. A boy teaching himself how to “disappear” as his family collapses around him; a group’s last desperate hurrah at a dive strip club; a comic book artist returning home to grieve his lost childhood love; a middle-aged woman using baby-talk to seduce her daughter’s boyfriend-these and other storylines mix concrete grit with magic realism in rendering an essential portrait of The Old Neighborhood.
More of Biscello’s work can be found on his blog