Thursday, February 5, 2009

Landscape with Fragmented Figures by Jeff Vande Zande

My good friend Jeff Vande Zande's new novel Landscape with Fragmented Figures was just published by Bottom Dog Press, a press that has been around for 23 years, focusing on literary writing about all things working class/blue collar. I've read the novel twice now, once a couple of years ago right after Jeff finished it, and this past December when I had the privilege of proofreading it. Landscape is a traditional realist novel where the wildly different worlds of blue collar factory work and tenure track academia come together, often with explosive results. The novel was relevant when Jeff first wrote it, but it's amazing how much more it speaks to most people's situation right now. Here are blurb and copy from Bottom Dog:

Betrayed by his art and disillusioned by his job as a professor, Ray Casper finds his long-time girlfriend has just left him. At the death of his estranged father, he links up with his out-of-work brother Sammy, and things really get complicated. Sammy moves in with Ray and needs a job; Ray needs inspiration to paint again, and both have to keep from killing each other.

Landscape with Fragmented Figures unites academia and working class in a tale of brothers, fathers and sons, art and love. It’s a tale of what it means for all of us to live in America in these times.

"Jeff Vande Zande's Landscape with Fragmented Figures is about being lost and searching for truth out of longing. On the way you drink cheap beer and pass through some smoke stacks. You are north of Detroit in a mini-metropolis off the I-75 corridor but not quite to God's country. And you find yourself splattered on an abstract canvas, layered with shallow middle class aspirations and working class failures. Haven't we all been there? It's what makes us human; it's what grounds us. At some point in life we all face ourselves - that is if we are willing to take risks."

-Lolita Hernandez, author of Autopsy of an Engine

“Jeff Vande Zande's new novel is a wonderful contemporary working-class story. This crafted story is an engaging page-turner filled with keen detailing and vivid style. Landscape with Fragmented Figures is the real deal--an intense story about real people involved in day-to-day life experiences that readers will identify with and relate to their own neighborhoods and Midwest houses, not in New York, LA or Chicago. This is a novel full of working-class heart and soul that will appeal to all readers.”

-M.L. Liebler, author of Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream & Director of Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers

Jeff Vande Zande has spent most of his life in Michigan, where the talk is always of jobs, loss of jobs, and the beauty of the landscape. His books include a novel, Into the Desperate Country (March Street Press), a collection, Poems New, Used, and Rebuilds (March Street Press) and, also a short story collection, Emergency Stopping and Other Stories (Bottom Dog Press). He lives in Midland with wife, son, and daughter and teaches English and writing at Delta College.

1 comment:

Jeff Vande Zande said...


Thanks for the FANTASTIC plug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, I am fricking psyched that you are calling this thing you've been working on a novella . . . and that you'll soon be ready for readers.

A novella! Damn, brother.

Oh, as you suggested, I bought Butler's Ever . . . we'll see if this old dog (me) can appreciate something so cutting edge.