A good and sometimes disturbing psychological study of some very different personalities quarantined together during a pandemic. John Pistelli knows how to plot, how to create complex, three-dimensional characters and how to tie it all together so that the tension builds perfectly. Very well done.
My novella The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House is now complete and available for purchase. To learn about my motives and process in writing it, please see here and here. You can read a sample chapter here. From the finished book’s back cover:
The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House is a masterpiece—a vision of the modern artist that we so desperately need. It is inevitable that this book will impact the world.
—Samuel Worthington, musician and writer
A global pandemic has America under quarantine. In a run-down apartment building, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, five people—a philosopher, an academic, a filmmaker, a sculptor, and a philanthropist—come together, at first only for the pleasure of company. But then they find themselves in a ferocious debate about the obsessions that drive their lives and a ruthless quest to discover the secrets that brought them together. Their passions and betrayals play out against the dangerous backdrop of a state-enforced lockdown and a disease that can strike anyone at any time. The eventually explosive conflicts among these poor artists, underfed intellectuals, and desperate fanatics pose urgent questions of art and inequality, health and freedom, faith and power, love and death. The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House is at once a Platonic dialogue, a poem in prose, and a suspenseful story of mystery and romance: a fresh narrative for a new era.
Why should you read The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House?
—If you like novels of ideas that dramatize conflicts between worldviews, philosophies, and personalities—think of Thomas Mann, Albert Camus, or Iris Murdoch;
—if you like fiction that struggles with (and sometimes laughs at) the delirium and paranoia of contemporary life in our dizzying political and media environment—think Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, or Don DeLillo;
—if you like prose charged with the intense precision and heightened rhythm of poetry to present the mysteries of our outer and inner lives—think Virginia Woolf, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison;
—if you like dark, existential, psychological stories about the perversity or unreliability of selfhood, morality, and memory—think Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, Kazuo Ishiguro;
—if you want to read serious literary fiction from beyond the privileged preserve of corporate publishing;
—and above all if you want to encounter extraordinary characters—from a child-of-privilege turned nihilist extremist to a driven and brilliant “sculptress in steel”—and unforgettable scenes of cruelty and tenderness, violence and desire, beauty and decay that reflect and illuminate the crises of our times.
You can find The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House on Amazon in here in print or ebook formats. It also has a listing on Goodreads. As always, I am happy to exchange a free pdf version for the promise of an honest review in a public venue. If this offer interests you, please contact me at johnppistelli at gmail dot com. Thank you and happy reading!