Mistah Kurtz!

Anti-Oedipus Press • 2016
Paperback: 190 pages • 5 x 8 • $14.95 • ISBN 978-0-9905733-5-7
Kindle: $7.95
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In Mistah Kurtz! A Prelude to Heart of Darkness, James Reich discloses the contents of the papers that Kurtz entrusts to Marlow and the end of Joseph Conrad’s canonical novella. Drawing on clues left in Conrad’s account, the novel anticipates and dovetails with the arrival of Marlow at Kurtz’s ivory station in the Congo. Giving voice to one of the most enigmatic characters in the literary canon, Reich presents meticulous and controversial solutions to the origins, mystery and messianic deterioration of Mistah Kurtz: company man, elephant man, poet, feral god. Appalling rivalries, murder, fragile loyalties, doubt and desire shroud the pages of this book—part adventure, part desperate confession. Filtering the strangeness of Apocalypse Now! and historical accounts of the ivory trade, this irreverent, audacious endeavor lends meat and madness to the ghosts of the Congo, names that which had been nameless, and renders this Season in Hell in crystalline clarity.


"This book is beyond marvelous." —FULL STOP

"Mistah Kurtz! is not only satisfying because it reintroduces us to an adored classic but because it takes us so convincingly someplace new. The deceit, longing and mosquitos are so thick you’ll grip your chair and slap at your ankles. " —RAMONA AUSUBEL, author of No One is Here Except All of Us and A Guide to Being Born
"In Heart of Darkness, Marlow tells us that Kurtz's voice 'rang to the very last,' hiding 'in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart.' In Mistah Kurtz!, James Reich turns back the clock to give that eloquence fresh room, bringing to new life one of the great characters of literature by channeling Kurtz's insistent voice directly onto every inch of these fantastic pages." —MATT BELL, author of Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

"James Reich writes like a demon." —MARY DEARBORN, author of The Happiest Man Alive: A Biography of Henry Miller and Mailer: A Biography

"Mistah Kurtz! is a critical intervention, an appraisal and an amplification, a wonderful remaking of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The unspeakable is spoken." —PIPPA TANDY, author of Writing World War III: J.G. Ballard's Guide to the Cold War


"Somewhere between the macho-hipster fantasies of Quentin Tarantino and the banshee-activist theatrics of Pussy Riot dwells Varyushka Cash . . . Now that's entertainment." —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Blindingly brilliant and horrifyingly comic.” —THE HUFFINGTON POST

Bombshell is great stuff, and James Reich writes like a demon. He invokes figures as wonderfully diverse as Valerie Solanas and Nancy Reagan’s astrologer as icons in a supremely bizarre, darkly humorous universe. Varyushka Cash is a heroine for the ages.”
 —MARY DEARBORN, author of Mailer: A Biography

“James Reich’s Bombshell delivers on every artistic level: visionary story, beautiful language and an unforgettable, emotionally resilient and iron-tough heroine, in this politically charged, indelibly smart, wild and electrifying powerhouse of a book.” —EMILY RAPP, author of The Still Point of the Turning World 

 “I, Judas will have you clenched in a fetal position for a century, relieved only by the occasional orgasms of its mellifluous prose. You have to be strong to read this book: it rains fireballs.” —ANDREI CODRESCU, author of Bibliodeath and The Posthuman Dada Guide and editor of Exquisite Corpse

"Bombshell . . . is an incredibly dense, rich, and well-paced novel. Within its 259 pages the reader encounters Chernobyl, feminism, terrorism, rendition, Valerie Solanas, Jane Fonda, Hiroshima, the Trinity test site, and much more. . . . Bombshell stands out because, for all the loudness of its characters and subject matter, it manages to feel subtle and seamless in its execution. It's a novel that doesn't sacrifice politics for plot, or vice versa, and it's a novel that will pass by too quickly and leave you wondering what in the world its author will dream up next." —THE RUMPUS

“Like Cormac McCarthy wandering a William Burroughs wasteland while blasting a riot grrrl mixtape on a scavenged Walkman!”
 —S. A. CRARY, director of Kill Your Idols

“Reich is a formidable writer. He brings his characters and events to life with cinematic clarity. His eye for detail makes even the familiar seem alien. Above all he gives form to the terrifying invisible nuclear air that envelopes us all. Bombshell is a cautionary tale well told, offered up by a passionate and supremely gifted new author.”
 —MALCOLM MCNEILL, author of Observed While Falling

“The feminist heroine is a fresh twist on the thriller genre.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Defiant, toothsome, and flaming with color, the voice of James Reich is one of the most exciting to emerge in recent years; he is both something new and something wholly real. If it is possible for a true underground writer to exist anymore, he is that author. Bombshell is sublime.”
 —STEPHEN E. ANDREWS, author of 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels


JAMES REICH is the author of three other novels, Soft Invasions (2017), Bombshell (2013) and I, Judas (2011). A member of PEN American Center and the International Association of Crime Writers, he has published fiction and nonfiction in The RumpusThe Nervous BreakdownSensitive SkinInternational TimesLitroNYThe Weeklings, Fiction Advocate and others. Reich is editor-in-chief of Stalking Horse Press as well as a founding member of the band Venus Bogardus with vinyl and CD releases on independent record labels in the US and UK. Visit him online at www.jamesreichbooks.com.


Reich Revives Kurtz • Jackalope Magazine
He's Not Dead: Novel Resurrects Kurtz • ABQ Free Press
3 Questions with James Reich • Santa Fe Reporter
Q&A with James Reich • Fiction Advocate


The Song My Enemies Sing
Soft Invasions