Literary Fiction


Release date: August 12th, 2023 ISBN: 978-1-887276-87-0

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If we crave more than hope for tomorrow, we need to learn the facts of the past— today!  We may not all be fools, but we all collaborate in the foolishness of play

This book asks the big questions, with big love and laughter. Through the stark perceptions that help transform our conflicts, from the volatile and necessary frictions of light and dark: American Fool’s Day invites you to enjoy a timely epic farce, whose surreal fiction is smacked with fact and satire. This novel for the 2020’s is set in the 1930’s when Duke The Suit is mysteriously warped into a 1939 film noire, just as the explosive cusp of advanced technology grips society with power, like magic—to galvanize a world throttled by totalitarianism, poverty & the hell shadows of global war. It haunts the blinding carnival lights of a phantasmal decadent Hollywood, fabricating and cloning their own realities of race, of class, and the conditioned roles of male and female stereotypes, forcing round pegs into square holes. 

First take from JONAH RASKIN
“I started to read it as soon as it arrived. I like it a lot. I’ve enjoyed the dedication, the quotations at the start of each chapter, the opening paragraphs and the splendid ways that each and every chapter ends. I’m enthralled with the Duke, with all the other characters, and the whole premise of the book and the magnificent energy that infuses it plus the movie references and the movie stars. How could I not enjoy a book that boasts a sentence such as “Traveling in the angst of stealth, immersed and swallowed into endless night.” I could easily pick out a dozen or more brilliant sentences that rock me, teach me stuff, and that delight me with the word play. Bravo Kishko. I’ve read the bio at the back of the book and feel I know something about you. Right on, man.”

Jonah Raskin – author Beat Blues: San Francisco, 1955 from Coolgrove.

Complete review from Jonah Raskin

American Fool’s Day by Anthony Kishko; Coolgrove Press; $19.95

         Anthony Kishko’s new novel, American Fool’s Day, is a fun and a funny read, but don’t be misled by the title. This is a serious work of fiction that plays with the idea and the form of the novel and with the American language. Is it a great novel? Maybe not, but it approaches greatness, and like all great and near-great novels, from Tristram Shandy and Wuthering Heights to Moby-Dick and To the Lighthouse, it’s an anti-novel that deconstructs and reinvents the novel as a genre.

As long as writers like Kishko continue to do that necessary work, the novel will never die, though from time to time critics have predicted its demise.

         At more than 200 pages and with 33 sizzling chapters, which are called “Episodes,” plus an “Epilogue,”  American Fool’s Day moves along with the velocity of a bullet fired from the gun by a marksman. It drops the names of many American comedians including Abbott and Costello, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the masters of slapstick comedy, the Marx Brothers.

Plus there are cameo appearances by cinematic queens such as Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall.

         If you crave a traditional novel with a linear plot forget it, and if you crave cookie cutter characters forget that, too.  Kishko has done nothing less than defy the rules of fiction writing, wandered in the wilderness and carved out a territory all its own.

The paragraphs are short; grammar and punctuation adhere to their own rules with heaps of words and phrases in italics that leap out from the page. Obscenities come into the open, along with eye-popping quotations such as Shakespeare’s “What fools these mortals be” from his comedy, a Midsummer’s Night Dreams.

         Occasionally, the prose wanders from English to French and to something else that might be called gibberish and that could have come from a computer gone mad. American Fool’s Day pokes fun at many of the public figures it ought to make fun of, including the unintentional mad comedian George W. Bush and the dangerous buffoon, Donald Trump. The novel rallies behind Bob Dylan, Herbert Marcuse and H. L. Mencken.

         Kishko is definitely well read and a deep thinker without being pedantic. He has probed the American psyche and has nailed the KKK, Ronald Reagan and our national obsessions. He calls out “the corporate-military-industrial-complex,” and he’s so new that he mentions AI and Tesla. In America, it would seem everyday is April Fool’s Day.

         At a critical point in the story, the narrator, who we have come to trust, says, “Nothing happens in a vacuum.” He adds “But we are vacuumed by facts withheld from our knowledge.” Isn’t that true of the US? And Russia and China and Mexico today?  True for the whole world.

         Does Kishko predict “a dialectical apocalypse dawning a new teleological horizon of being”? Maybe, or maybe he’s only fooling with us. You’ll have to read the novel and decide for yourself.

—–Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues: San Francisco, 1955 published by Coolgrove.

“American Fools Day is an imaginative and funny Pilgrim’s Progress through our unconscious spiritual world of Hollywood mythology and electronic modernity.  Resonating with humor, vision and great ambition, its finely-textured language demands your attention as it dazzles your mind.  This is the world we grew up in and currently inhabit, even if we didn’t know that until we read it here.”

— Robbie Saltaire (author of Margie in the Morning)

To confront this amorphous Hydra of wicked forces Duke the Suit joins the legendary and heroic Jazz musician Louis Armstrong, actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr and the prolific, resurrected, Marx Brothers, in an exposition of their most outrageous shenanigans in slapstick dialogue and acrobatics ever. (And many surprise guests.) At the story’s climax, the momentum of the action remains unresolved, so the plot grows atomic, into further multiple climaxes, to a shocking conclusion. An immersive and multi-orgasmic read. 

American Fool’s Day is a literary metaphor for the year 2020 — a blitzed and paranoid decade, as the film within the story reflects back to us the 1930’s when many of our worst issues and con-trolling paradigms take root, as we reap the same harvest each generation, until we identify and prevent the same seeds from spreading.  

This is Literary Fiction conveyed through sharp angles of an expansive spectrum, of opposing concepts with compelling mirrored details. It does not peddle nor pander for a political party, but rather dives in wide perspectives, where we can breathe, step back, and embrace a challenged democracy, as we try to smile with our bunkered and confused neighbors, to share in an illuminated foolishness. We gawk, with disbelief, at the encroaching red horizon, spelling disasters of  uncivil war, competing dictatorships, or a global apocalypse, ignited by our fears of dystopia and paranoid threats of The Others

From corny Main Street to horny Wall Street, the plot hurtles us on a mad roller coaster, yet to stop. We are entangled in a spiraling cascade of traps and coups where the real underlying conspiracy has always been the super rich dazzling us with symbols of power, to hypnotize, and subjugate the poor. Buffered by the carnage of an electric cash-crazy-casino-economy, a kleptocratic plutocracy that exists to mesmerize, and crush, the star gazing public. 

We plow through a play of language. Tackle the hyperbole of twisted swill and euphemism, against a clandestine demagoguery, poking right in the camel’s eye! Breakdown the status quo of cliches that limit and break us. 

If we crave more than hope for tomorrow, we need to learn the facts of the past—today!  Here is a musical journey through literary prose, that seeks poetic meaning out of pending doom and chaos. It’s Fools Day! Daily, for some time to come. The novel idea of America. 

We’re not all fools, but we can all collaborate in the foolishness of play

Anthony Kishko, the author

Although once kicked out of school for out of control behaviors—then graduating at top of his class, the author is a former High School English teacher who is a musician/guitarist, currently performing and recording with 2 groups with an expanding discography of albums (website link to info) skirting through genres of Funk, Progressive Rock, Fusion, World Music and Free Jazz.  Long inspired by various genres of literature—classics, existentialism, modern/postmodern, sci-fi, & dystopian literature. He belives we may not all be fools, but we all collaborate in the foolishness of play.  


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