The Art of Falling: A Collection of Speculative Fiction and Nonfiction
Wonders, Brooke J.
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This creative dissertation is composed of fabulist stories (fiction) and speculative essays (creative nonfiction) at the cutting edge of current discussions of experimental literature, including allegorical fiction and hybrid nonfiction, with a special interest in new literary forms arising from commercial genres. In one story, a teenager and her brother struggle to make ends meet after their father’s death fighting a wildfire; a mysterious rabbit arrives on their doorstep and increases in size proportionate to their grief. In another, a house left abandoned after the recession speaks the stories hidden in its walls. A creative nonfiction essay told in the form of a ghost story describes a community theater haunted by a beloved actor’s suicide. Both creative nonfiction and fabulism are to some extent staid forms, with many examples within each tradition of authors merely replicating the devices of their forbears, sans innovation. While attempts at “speculative memoir” do not necessarily get outside the marketplace dynamics of memoir-the-genre and commercial genres (including fantasy, horror and science-fiction), the fusion of these forms opens up a potent space of possibility for the creation of works of prose and fiction that can be highly critical of and resistant to marketplace influences on literary production. Operating in the fabulist tradition of authors like Kij Johnson, Kate Bernheimer, Octavia Butler, and Anna Joy Springer, The Art of Falling explores how free-market capitalism turns intimate relationships entropic and what it means to make art when economic logics fetter the artist’s imagination.