Reviews

for The Pet Thief



THE PET THIEF IS A BRILLIANT SPECULATIVE DRAMA about transhumans. The cat people mirror what all of our scientific and medical accomplishments really tell us about ourselves: we are and always have been animals. Funny, dark, and at times linguistically stunning by turning language as a speech act inside-out, The Pet Thief is unlike anything you have ever read, or ever will.

—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Dora: A Headcase



JUST AS THE CHARACTERS FOUND IN THE PET THIEF are deranged biological recombinants, so is the formidable form of this dystopic novel: worsted, unzipped, reraveled, and hooked. Kassten Alonso fracks the mother tongue. This book is one mean meaning.

—Michael Martone, author of Four for a Quarter





PERHAPS THE MOST AMAZING AND MOVING THING to me is how Oboy's voice handles action--the way the language itself both describes and conveys his inner and outer movements through space. There's nothing like that, the way we stay inside it, that strange traveling.

—Peter Rock, author of The Shelter Cycle


NOTHING IS SPOON-FED TO YOU HERE; you’ll have to unlearn the conventional forms and structure of traditional storytelling if you want to navigate your way through the midnight world of The Pet Thief.

—Tony McMillen, DigBoston


BY INVOLVING YOU SO DEEPLY in Oboy's continuing identity-formation and his search for a place in this dystopian society, the author compels you to re-examine not just language in general, but also how much of your identity stems from that language and its unique meaning. Alonso makes hybrids of us all.

—Alexander Lumans, The Collagist/​Dzanc Books


UNLIKE SOME EXPERIMENTAL WORKS, THE PET THIEF balances character and plot with word-play, and intellectual conceit with emotional resonance. Though not an easy read, it should be refreshing for those who embrace the chimeras and monstrosities of the written word.

—Tamar Levi, The Hollins Critic



ALONSO UTILIZES OBOY'S FRAGMENTED NARRATION to great effect to evoke the unheated, perpetually dripping cat piss-marinated Dollhouse, and the rooftop chase scenes between Oboy and a rotating cast of bumbling police officers and menacing gang members would give vertigo to even the most stalwart reader.

—Caitlin Keefe Moran, Pleiades




for Core: A Romance



JUMP THROUGH THIS GOTHIC STAINED-GLASS WINDOW and you are in for some serious investigation of darkness and all of its deadly sins. But take heart, brave traveler, the adventure will prove thrilling. For you are in the beautiful hands of Kassten Alonso.

—TOM SPANBAUER, author of The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon and In the City of Shy Hunters


KASSTEN ALONSO TAKES THE READER on a wild ride inside the mind of a profoundly disturbed man as he descends into madness and violence. A beautifully written book. Impossible to put down.

—JAMES FREY, author of A Million Little Pieces


KASSTEN ALONSO’S AMAZING Core will startle you. A fierce story that actually taught me to read it as I went deeper and deeper—it’s as if this book is written in a rich, beautiful language I’d once known and somehow forgotten. I’m happy and terrified to have it back.

—PETER ROCK, author of The Bewildered


A NOVEL OF CONSIDERABLE DARING and precision. In finely worked language, Kassten Alonso explores the border between Hell and the everyday, finding it closer than we might have hoped. A dense, surprising, beautifully worked novel.

—KEVIN CANTY, author of Winslow in Love


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



A GORGEOUS, FRACTURED NOVEL about a homicidal sculptor of stones and ceramics.
—CREATIVE LOAFING ATLANTA


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.
—THE OREGONIAN

full review here:


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.
—THE PORTLAND ALLIANCE

full review here:


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.
—THE ABSINTHE LITERARY REVIEW

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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