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Asphalt

Asphalt

A Novel

Already a celebrated performance artist, vocalist, poet, playwright, and visionary, Carl Hancock Rux now presents a brilliant debut novel--a profound and lyrical portrait of urban life that will take its place among the classics of American literature.

Racine is a reserved young man, but his passion for music lights him up inside. He's just returned from Paris where he'd been invited by a friend to produce music, make recordings, and earn a living. The plan didn't quite pan out, and now he's back in New York, where fate, providence, or just plain chance leads him to a once-glorious brownstone turned into a squat by a few eccentric loners.

There's Manny, who wears sarongs and glitter but has no trouble attracting beautiful women, and Couchette, a gorgeous second-generation dancer whose mother has gone to Bali to live and bear a child with a man who built her a house in the midst of a rice paddy. What binds the characters is a deep sense of loss. Each is--like the city they live in--wounded and seeking healing and connection with and through the other housemates.

Rux's poetic fiction blurs the lines between characters' dreams, memory, and reality. Asphalt--the name representing the essence of the city and the hard, layered, yet vulnerable sensibility of its inhabitants--is part post-modern parable, part urban mythology, and altogether relevant to contemporary reality. Asphalt is daring and unforgettable, marking the arrival of an original and astounding new voice in American literature.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743474016 | 
  • May 2005
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Ibid

Nothing remarkable here, no splendid courts, no spacious stairways...there is only rubble...traces of the Dorian burning, and the open graves...the menace is all the greater because it is never completely expressed. We are haunted by a presence which never completely reveals itself...

--
Robert Payne, The Splendor of Greece

He was coming from, I was walking toward. I was walking toward something, having arrived at nothing. He was crossing the avenue, my brother -- the remains of a boy crossing pernicious pavement channels. An easy task -- straight and steady steps of celerity -- aiming... see more

About the Author

Carl Hancock Rux
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Carl Hancock Rux

Carl Hancock Rux is an award-winning writer, poet, playwright, and performance and recording artist. He is the author of the Village Voice Literary Prize winning collection of poetry and prose Pagan Operetta, and the Obie award-winning play Talk. His fiction, poetry, essays, articles, and plays have been widely anthologized in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Rux is also a New York City Foster Care alumnus and now lives in Brooklyn.

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