Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pg. 99: Stona Fitch's "Senseless"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Stona Fitch's Senseless.

About the book, from the author's website:

Senseless is a disturbing, controversial novel that tells the story of Eliott Gast, a middle-aged American economist who is abducted in Brussels one fall night by a shadowy anti-globalization group. Gast spends forty days in a white apartment, tortured by masked captors, every moment broadcast on the Internet. His mind racing, Gast tries to explain why he is here, unearthing sins both small and large.

Through the fascinating, disturbing ordeal of Eliott Gast, Senseless traces the precise boundaries of empathy, searching for humanity in the digital era.

Among the praise for Senseless:

"Published as that world struggles with issues of justice, vengeance, proportionality, Senseless combines the taut plotline of a made-for-TV thriller with the ruminations of a sophisticated literary novella.... Fitch draws us into the forbidding truth that we're now stuck among amoralists capable of anything. As much as any novel can, this disturbing one forces us to face what we're capable of - what we should be capable of - in such a predicament."
--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Small like a stick of dynamite, Fitch's second novel delves into the horrific experience of a hostage forced to endure torture that ultimately deprives him of his five senses. Fitch's otherwise grim, one-sitting novel, his first in nine years (after Strategies for Success), has many moments of poignant reflection as Eliott Gast ponders his past and future. He also wonders about the gruesome use the Internet is being put to - an issue that Fitch resolves with brevity and ingenuity."
--Publishers Weekly

"Kafka in overdrive."
--Cincinnati Enquirer

"Fitch skillfully builds suspense in this story, which is short enough and compelling enough to finish in one sitting. In fact, the entire novel serves as a sort of extended life-flashing-before-one's-eyes experience. A harrowing thriller that is also an absorbing and thought-provoking character study."

The book...has us writhing, but that is its genius.... We are left with a riveting and exhausting novel, one that hits a number of extremes - delights full of horror, with numerous civilized touches to assuage the wounds they make.
--The Bloomsbury Review

"Senseless is a grimly elegant novel with a studiously ambiguous take on both its protagonist and its subject: the moral responsibilities of global powers to those less fortunate."
--Houston Chronicle

Stona Fitch is a novelist living in Concord, Massachusetts, where he also directs Gaining Ground, a non-profit organic farm. He is a former crime reporter and musician with the seminal Boston underground band Scruffy the Cat.

Visit Stona Fitch's website to learn more about Senseless.

The Page 99 Test: Senseless.

--Marshal Zeringue