Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pg. 69: Jim Krusoe's "Girl Factory"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Jim Krusoe's Girl Factory.

About the book, from the publisher:
A yogurt parlor in a corner mall somewhere in the city of St. Nils contains a dark secret in its basement, and Jonathan, the mostly clueless clerk who works there, just wants to fix things once and for all. But, beginning with an early encounter in an animal shelter that leaves three dead, things don’t always work out the way they ought to. Or do they? Filled with memorable characters, including two dogs (one too smart for his own good) and a retired sea captain, this unsettling darkly comic novel is an exploration of memory, desire, and the nature of storytelling. More disturbingly, Girl Factory raises questions about the ubiquitous objectification of women, the possibility for change, and the nature of freedom.
Among the early praise for Girl Factory:
"Only Jim Krusoe would find true pathos in yogurt. This book is not just funny-- it's eerie, and vivid, and strangely sad, too. His work is full of the most curious urgency: I love to keep reading, and I don't know what I'm waiting for, exactly, but I know whatever I find will hover in my peripheral vision for awhile after I'm done, and that's exactly what happened here."
—Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt"

In the basement of a Southern California yogurt shop one hot summer night, Jonathan, a down-on-his-luck-fro-yo-slinger, discovers several young, beautiful naked women encased in glass and suspended lifelessly in a milky mixture. Jonathan's boss, Spinner, catches him nosing around and reveals his experiment: acidophilus, yogurt's active culture, has the uncanny ability to preserve and nourish life, he explains, and the women bobbing before Jonathan's wide eyes are making 'an investment in their future.' When foul play suddenly makes the women Jonathan's wards, he has to see if he has the right stuff to care for them—and perhaps free them. Poet Krusoe's fiction debut is as whimsical as multicolored sprinkles and as sweet as dollop of Pinkberry."
Publishers Weekly

"He is never heavy-handed—his writing is too unpretentious, his characters too wonderfully peculiar... And this makes Girl Factory the best kind of novel—a wildly imagined tale with its own rules."
—Lauren Sanders, Bookforum

"Girl Factory is a humorous, genre-jumping, carnival-ride of a novel. It's smart, weird, unsettling, and downright fun to read. It's no wonder Jim Krusoe is one of Southern California's most notoriously daring literary icons."
—Mark Jude Poirier

"Jim Krusoe is one of America's most sincere satirists, a treasured literary oddball. No one interweaves the comic, the absurd, the outrageous, and the mundane or plays them off each other the way he does. It's been said that a truly unique literary production proposes its own genre. Surely that's true of Girl Factory, which twists tropes from Frankenstein, Bluebeard, contemporary headlines, old movies, the biology of extinction, the self-help movement, conspiracy theory, and more into a highly readable, unpredictable postmodern novella that always privileges unadulterated imagination.
—Amy Gerstler, author of Ghost Girl
Read an excerpt from Girl Factory, and learn more about the book and author at the publisher's website.

Jim Krusoe has written five books of poems, a book of stories, Blood Lake, and a novel, Iceland, which was selected by the Los Angeles Times and the Austin Chronicle as one of the ten best fiction books of 2002, and was on the Washington Post list of notable fiction the same year. His stories and poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Bomb, Denver Quarterly, the Iowa Review, Field, North American Review, American Poetry Review, and the Santa Monica Review, which he began in 1988.

See January Magazine's Author Snapshot: Jim Krusoe.

The Page 69 Test: Girl Factory.

--Marshal Zeringue