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Core: a Romance

“This intense and compact novel crackles with obsession, betrayal and madness. As the narrator becomes fixated on his best friend's girlfriend, his precarious hold on sanity rapidly deteriorates into delusion and violence. Alonso skillfully uses language to imitate memory and psychosis, and deliberate misuse of standard punctuation blurs the distinction between the narrator's internal and external worlds. This story can be read as the classic myth of Hades and Persephone (Core) rewritten for a twenty-first-century audience as well as a dark, foreboding tale of unrequited love and loneliness. A sense of alienation and Faulknerian grotesquerie permeates this landscape, where desire is borne in the bloom of a daffodil and sanity lies toppled like an applecart in the mud.”

SENTENCES SPUTTER AND FRACTURE. Nothing is linear. But the story progresses, through repetitions of words and phrases, and occasional clear windows in the kaleidoscope of narration, constructing a crazy quilt of a story of love gone terribly wrong, and bad things that happen because of it.


A GORGEOUS, FRACTURED NOVEL about a homicidal sculptor of stones and ceramics.


A TRUE CRAFTSMAN, Alonso controls his form – portraying the internal madness of the main character without sacrificing clarity of style or plot orientation. Further, what in lesser hands could have easily lapsed into tedious stream of consciousness becomes a sublime landscape of mental anguish and crazed logic.


KASSTEN ALONSO'S DEBUT NOVEL IS STARK AND AFFECTING. Juxtaposing the sweet and the macabre, Alonso heightens the reader's perceptions of each. Alonso's prose is exquisite and artistic. He's able to reflect the narrator's instability amazingly well through a sort of stream of consciousness prose, while never losing the descriptiveness and lyrical quality that captures and holds the reader's attention from the first to the last page. Alonso's modern gothic tale-- think windswept American corn fields rather than dark English moors-- is absolutely arresting. Core: A Romance is the demonstration of a writer with great skill and precision. Highly recommended.


"Romance is too limiting a word to describe the content of this book, which is the manifestation of some more powerful and tangled compulsions, more reckless ambitions."

—Michael Ray, Editor, Zoetrope: All Story

Novels by Kassten Alonso

How does a narrator with no capacity for speech tell a story?
Fiction Collective 2
A crazy-quilt of a love story gone terribly wrong, and bad things that happen as a result.
Hawthorne Books

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