Fourteen Fraught Fables and One Debatable Day

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AuthorHouse, Apr 15, 2011 - Fiction - 140 pages
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As suggested by the title Fourteen Fraught Fables and One Debatable Day, this book is composed of two independent parts. The fourteen fables are brief subjective tales, some which might be called surreal, others simply fantastic, but all of them bizarre


products of a rare imagination. They take place in a world which seems at first very like our own, but which by the end of each has altered into something disconcertingly unexpected. A characteristic example: through sheer will power, the narrator rides his exercise bicycle off its stand and into realms he had never dreamt of.


The longer work, One Debatable Day, tells of the humorously narrated quest by Valentinevery much of an Everyman in his virtues and shortcomingsto find out what the particular day of the story should be about. This proves more difficult than he (or the reader) might have thought, since Valentines commitment to simple honesty and his respect for sincerity in relationships are shared by few of the wide range of people he encounters. Not until he has shaken himself free from exaggerated aestheticism, political hypocrisy and self-serving religious formulations does he finally gain insight into what the day should be about, aided by a presumed guardian angel and a movie-buff cavalry horse. His search is fulfilled in extended episodes of original humor, both high and low, playing out against the background of the desire of every human being to understand how each of ones days ought to be lived.


 

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Contents

Section 1
10
Section 2
12
Section 3
14
Section 4
20
Section 5
26
Section 6
55
Section 7
61
Section 8
74
Section 9
89
Section 10
107
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About the author (2011)

Author Merritt Abrash is retired from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where as Professor of Cultural Studies he taught courses in art history, utopian studies, science fiction and film, and published chapters and articles on each of those subjects. Thirty-five years ago he founded the Society for Utopian Studies and directed its first and several later annual conferences.


Each of his four longer publications fills an unusual niche. Mindful of Utopia, a utopian novel in the tradition of Looking Backward and Walden Two, revives the optimistic imagining of utopia seldom in evidence after the twentieth century’s ideological disasters. George Stubbs: 50 Chapters of an Imagined Biography, a fictional but fact-based study of an eighteenth-century English artist, consists of fifty stories establishing Stubbs in the context of British life and art of the time. Absurdist Angles on History includes three full-length plays on offbeat subjects: a meeting between Marx and Freud, a spoof of the outbreak of World War I, and a black comedy—which has been professionally produced—following the fortunes of the three last survivors of a nuclear war.


The only niche that Things in Heaven and Earth, Abrash’s most recent book, could be said to fill is one defined by wacky humor, demented word play, and a plot ingeniously constructed out of absurdly unlikely parts. Readers will find Fourteen Fraught Fables and One Debatable Day a worthy addition to the author’s excursions into the strikingly original.


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