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Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Fiction from Elisabeth Sheffield: Fort Da

A psychological and linguistic exploration of obsession and illicit love.

While working at a sleep lab in northern Germany, Rosemarie Ramee, a 38-year-old American neurologist, falls in love with Aslan, an eleven-year-old Turkish Cypriot. To get closer to the boy, RR undertakes a "marriage of convenience" to the boy's uncle. But when the uncle suddenly disappears, Ramee, alone with Aslan, must take the boy to his relatives in northern Cyprus. A train journey ensues, chronicled in RR's psychological reports and neurological inquiries.

But what begins as an objective "report" breaks down as the story progresses: RR's voice, hitherto suppressed and analytical, emerges hesitantly and then erupts, splintering every conception of inner and outer lives, solipsistic reality, and the irrevocable past. Consistently surprising and unrelenting, Fort Da turns one woman's illicit affair into a riveting exploration of language and the mind.

Elisabeth Sheffield is the author of the novel Gone. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

This is Lemony Snicket retelling Lolita for an audience that insists it isn't already hopelessly tangled up in the essential American fairy tale. Fort Da [is] brilliant in a careless way, and written even better.

—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Led Feather, The Bird is Gone, Bleed into Me, and All the Beautiful Sinners.

A literary high–wire performance with stunning language. Sheffield makes psychological sense of an ‘aberrant’ sexual behavior and the condition of longing, along with a chase, a European travelogue, and a parody of academia.
—Stacey Levine, author of My Horse and Other Stories, Frances Johnson, and Dra–.

from the
University of Alabama Press