The Nervous Breakdown | Adrien Brody, Adrien Brody, and Adrien Brody’s Nose: Critical Essay on Pop Culture, Technology and Lacanian Conceit in Literature

Rae Bryant Website Coverpage


Before attempting to delve into the annals of critical theory, first I must comment on the title, “Adrien Brody,” because I adore Adrien Brody, the actor. I find him and his nose intriguing. I like the shadow-facets of his characters, and how he can bring a full body of darkness to his “good” characters. For this reason, Marie Calloway’s story, “Adrien Brody” (MuuMuu House), spoke to me from the title alone. I also like the aesthetics of modern technology within the landscapes of fictional narratives. I like when writers experiment with this and find new ways to creatively tell a story. I applaud writers who divulge themselves and others in a “real” sense. They are called journalists, memoirists, creative nonfiction writers, and they are to be celebrated when their crafts are true and their intentions are bigger than themselves. Likewise for a fiction writer, the intentions must be equally rigorous, true, and focused on the story. Always the story. To write any other way is masturbatory and easy and pedestrian and sloppy. And when a writer finds herself between the categories of the real and the imaginative, the possibilities are exciting, such as when a writer represents herself as a character within her own narrative—but here there is a backdoor danger. She opens herself for reader responses, not only to her story and craft, but also to her personally, as an entity aside from her art, and this is the place where academic objectivism becomes gray, where critical responses, perhaps more so than in other venues, lose the “gentleman’s code.” Apparently, the code has been lifted in response to “Adrien Brody,” as the code has been lifted for many online debates over form and style and story and writer “legitimacy.” Is it a case of digital diarrhea? Have we lost our good manners when responding to works because it is simply too easy to write whatever pops into our minds and then quickly click ‘send’? Is this an excuse? Read the full essay at The Nervous Breakdown.

The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals

The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals


“Rae Bryant’s stories yank at you over and over, desperate to give you the clue you never had and to point you, by what’s left out, to a spot on this good earth where the heart might flourish. Getting there is your business, she seems to say, and she doesn’t hold out much hope of your arrival, or of hers. Is it fun? Not so much. Is it necessary? Absolutely.” Frederick Barthelme
“Rae Bryant’s fiction is smart and sexy and post-feminist and dangerous and akin to doing the tango with a succubus. Do you feel lucky? Part Hannah Tinti, part Kim Addonizio with enough intense characters, flashy dreams, and edgy visions to entangle your heart and skull for eons. Bite into these thorny stories, before they sink their teeth into you.” Richard Peabody, Editor Gargoyle Magazine
“Bryant’s language is meant to be chewed on and turned over on the tongue. Her sentences are elegant mouthfuls that mingle lyrical passages with moments of stark, plain prose.” C.A. Schaeffer, Quarterly West
“Reading Rae Bryant can be a harrowing experience; hers is a harsh world without wrong or right. But as you make your way through, pains and pleasures meet and build, until it’s like drowning in a lake of silver light.” —Ben Loory, Author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
“Rae Bryant’s fiction is rich with sensual detail, its surface clamoring for our attention like the glamoured skin of a new lover, everything fresh, everything undulled by long familiarity. And what waits beneath, begging to be revealed? Perhaps a writer striking poses, alternately a seductress, a tease, a joker, or perhaps a trickster: for while Bryant is always sure to show us a good time, there comes a sense that sometimes she’s making us laugh just so we don’t notice what else she’s doing, the way her fingernails dig deeply at our freshest wounds, aiming to free the many splinters stuck beneath our skin, and also that oh so good pain waiting just below.” Matt Bell, Author of How They Were Found
“Addictive; the rawness, messiness, unattractive infection of love that can cause a woman to gnaw off her arm to sneak away from her sleeping lover. It’s no surprise to find, among these stories, a new Wonder Woman, with a whip. Ah, you say: of course.” Karen Heuler, Author of Journey to Bom Goody, recipient of the O’Henry award.
“Will make you simultaneously laugh and cringe at the squeamish awkwardness of post-one night stand intimacies…witty…strangely fantastical and familiar.” —Chelsea Bauch, Flavorwire
“If I had to describe Rae Bryant’s collection The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals in two words, the words would be these: damn impressive.” —Mel Bosworth, Outsider Writers Collective and Press
“A new genealogy of morals… a madcap ride through a land of errant desire and lost time.” —Gary Percesepe, BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review)
“Bryant creates a vivid portrayal of what it means to be human, in its gritty glory.” —Robyn Campbell, Weave Magazine
The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals commands attention. Bryant’s observations on the arcana of the mundane—life, sex, a sense of being—are matched only by her ability to render them strange. Alternatively lyrical and minimal, these stories exemplify the capabilities of the literary weird mode. A must read for any student of post-millennial fiction.” —Darin Bradley, Author of Noise
“A distinctive collection that’s imaginative and compelling. These stories show the enormous talent of Rae Bryant beginning to take hold.” —Tim Wendel, author of Castro’s Curveball and High Heat
“Deadpan, visceral, sharply funny.” —Julie Innis, Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture
“Sweetly erotic without going over the top.” —Jared Randall, Apocryphal Road Code
Innovative, daring, original writing.” —Kathy Fish, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness

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