Monday, April 16, 2007

Pg. 99: Paul Toth's "Fishnet"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Paul Toth's Fishnet.

About the book, from the publisher:

If a man believes he’s sinking, can he muster the strength to resurface?

Maurice Melnick, failed painter, is lost in the underwater world of his imagination. Struggling with the notion that he is devolving, Maurice wants nothing more than to paint a portrait of his wife Sheila. But Sheila’s found the self she abandoned in marriage, an apparition who wants to come home for good. All the while, their post-industrial town of Mercy, California seems to succumb to a decades-old curse wrought by Mercy’s own ancestor. Can a marriage be rekindled alongside a crumbling and barren coast?
Among the praise for Fishnet:

“Toth is a smart writer with a natural gift for dialogue and creative introspection. Fishnet will make you smile, laugh, feel, and think. Ultimately it will leave you hopeful.”
—Charlie Stella

“An imaginative and stirring book! Fishnet is like stepping into a Salvador Dali painting.”
—Susan Henderson

"Thankfully, Toth is a talented writer interested in exploring stories you've already heard, in ways you've never expected. He's prone to detaching a familiar story from its moorings and pushing it out to sea, watching it float into murkier waters. Fishnet is no exception... It's astounding how much pathos Toth packs into this strange, short novel. While the reader is busy contemplating the meaning of Mercy's decline and Maurice's imaginings, Toth slips in devastating sentences, the kind you hope to never hear about your own relationship."
—Jonathan Messinger, TimeOut Chicago

Paul Toth lives in Michigan. His first novel is Fizz, and his short fiction credits include The Barcelona Review, Night Train and The Mississippi Review Online.

His latest project, a multimedia exploration of the connection between Hitler's love life and the central catastrophe of the 20th Century, is available in a signed, limited edition.

The Page 99 Test: Fishnet.

--Marshal Zeringue