I’m recommending Portraits & Ashes by John Pistelli to every avid reader. The bounce between characters, the riveting suspense, the unexpectedness of pure pleasurable literature… That’s what makes John special. Simply unputdownable.
—Gabriel Opare, author of The Face of Poverty Is Black & Other Poems
Reading [Portraits and Ashes] is like following a well-marked and yet unfamiliar winding path—the footing is sure, but it’s impossible to guess what’s around each corner…everything I hunger for in a novel.
—Craig Conley, author of One-Letter Words: A Dictionary
Julia is an aspiring painter without money or direction, haunted by a strange family history. Mark is a successful architect who suddenly finds himself unemployed with a baby on the way. Alice is a well-known artist and museum curator disgraced when her last exhibit proved fatal. Running from their failures, this trio is drawn toward a strange new cult that seeks to obliterate the individual—and which may be the creation of a mysterious and dangerous avant-garde artist.
John Pistelli unforgettably portrays three people desperate to lead meaningful lives as they confront the bizarre new institutions of a fraying America. A suspenseful and poetic novel in the visionary tradition of Don DeLillo, David Mitchell, Kazuo Ishiguro, and José Saramago, Portraits and Ashes is a scorching picture of our troubled age.
Portraits and Ashes is available for sale in print and ebook formats through Amazon, and it is listed on Goodreads as well. I am happy to offer free pdfs of the ebook in exchange for honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or your personal blog or website. If you’re interested, please contact me at johnppistelli at gmail.com. For an expanded description, see here.
“Nothing Is at Stake: On Shakespeare, Lana Del Rey, and the Relatable” (The Millions, August 2014)
“The Strange Lanes of Hell: Against Materialist Anti-Aesthetics” (Ragnarok, Vol I:1, Winter 2013)
“Gabriel Josipovici and the Burden of Modernism” (New Walk, Vol I:2, Spring 2011)
“On Ryan Spahr’s Post-Paranoia” (displayed at Little Amps Coffee Roasters in Harrisburg, PA, in January 2013)