My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi


My Volcano is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a menagerie of characters, as they each undergo personal eruptions, while the Earth itself is constantly shifting. Parable, myth, science-fiction, eco-horror, My Volcano is a radical work of literary art, emerging as a subversive, intoxicating artistic statement by John Elizabeth Stintzi.

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Our Bookseller says:

With My Volcano, John Elizabeth Stintzi has penned one of the most apoplectic apocalypses ever. This is the type of book to turn your book club into a fight club. It defies explanation and categorization, tangling international scale with microscopic focus using short, almost fragmentary chapters. There’s an ecohorror epic about a hivemind plant army in Mongolia. There’s Mt. Fuji springing from Central Park like a slo-mo cut of Athena’s birth. There’s one plotline that feels like unrelated autofiction until the horrific kitty tumors start forming. There’s a European woman who wakes up as an insect and has the kind of day that would make Kafka blush. There’s a tent of octopus legs! There’s lemons! Oh God, are there lemons.

Devotion, enthusiasm, and more than a little stubbornness infuse every page of My Volcano: it’s a twisty, freaky, hot queer mess that I don’t think ANYONE except JES could write (maybe Ursula K LeGuin, if she wrote The Lathe of Heaven in the grip of an acid nightmare). Read it, reread it, then argue about what it all means for weeks on end. – Terry

On June 2, 2016, a protrusion of rock growing from the Central Park Reservoir is spotted by a jogger. Three weeks later, when it finally stops growing, it’s nearly two-and-a-half miles tall, and has been determined to be an active volcano.

As the volcano grows and then looms over New York, an eight-year-old boy in Mexico City finds himself transported 500 years into the past, where he witnesses the fall of the Aztec Empire; a Nigerian scholar in Tokyo studies a folktale about a woman of fire who descends a mountain and destroys an entire village; a white trans writer in Jersey City struggles to write a sci-fi novel about a thriving civilization on an impossible planet; a nurse tends to Syrian refugees in Greece while grappling with the trauma of living through the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan; a nomadic farmer in Mongolia is stung by a bee, magically transforming him into a green, thorned, flowering creature that aspires to connect every living thing into its consciousness.

With its riveting and audacious vision, My Volcano is a tapestry on fire, a distorted and cinematic new work from the fiercely talented John Elizabeth Stintzi.

My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi