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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

The Color Inside a Melon by John Domini

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The Color Inside a Melon by John Domini


The Color Inside a Melon by John Domini


Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-945814-85-3

Product not yet released; orders will ship in May.

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A disastrous earthquake has Naples reeling. While the government scrambles to maintain appearances, poverty and anarchy rack the people on Italy’s margins—the illegal immigrants out of Africa, known as the clandestini. One of whom has just been horrifically murdered.

Enter Risto, a rare success story. A refugee from Mogadishu, orphaned in his teens, he’s now married the Neapolitan Paola and is the proprietor of a celebrated art gallery. The murder recalls the deaths of his loved ones years ago in Mogadishu, a trauma Risto can’t outrun.

Thinking to force the hand of the white authorities, Risto begins his own investigation. But once he starts playing detective, he quickly gets in over his head. Worse, his digging seems to have brought on a strange hallucination: a golden halo only he can see, like a visionary’s foretelling of death. Everyone he knows, including the woman he loves, seems to brim with secrets; every discovery Risto makes drives him toward an earthquake of his own.

A portrait of turmoil inside and out, The Color Inside a Melon explores race and class, belonging and exclusion in one of the world’s ancient cities. Prolific author, critic, and essayist John Domini delivers an unforgettable portrait of humanity’s endless struggle between moving on and making a home.

Praise for “Movieola!”

“A new shriek for a new century… an amplification of Nathaniel West." — The Millions 

“Thoroughly entertaining.” — Vanity Fair 

“A book to devour." — BBC Culture

Listed in Chicago Tribune as “One of 30 Books to Read,” Summer, 2016

“Feverishly exuberant… highly visual and incredibly verbal.” — The Rumpus 

“The prose recalls Nabokov..., the words at times tap dancing and somersaulting.” — The Nervous Breakdown

“A bravura performance from a writer producing his best work.”— Brooklyn Rail 

"Movieola! is a glory -- smart, cutting and funny.” — Sam Lipsyte

"A remarkable, droll meditation on film;… and on how all great works of art either invent a genre or dissolve one.” — David Shields 

“Reading Domini is always the smartest kind of fun – everyone who loves movies will love this book.”— Amber Sparks

"What Domini sneaks into the theater under his jacket, however, is a slyly disruptive deployment of the language of Hollywood insiderdom and wannabe insiderdom — the parody is unstinting, but the souls of the characters are never neglected.” — Christopher Sorrentino 

“If you've had it with the movies, John Domini in MOVIEOLA! will tell you, friskily, why.” — Padgett Powell 

Praise for John Domini’s fiction

“John Domini is a writer of the world.” — Steve Erickson 

“A rich feast, full of sparkling observation, wit, real mystery, characters we believe.” — Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize, on Earthquake I.D. 

“Both cutting-edge innovative and splendidly readable. This book is a flat-out delight.” — Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize, on Talking Heads: 77 

"Streetwise and pain-acquainted, Domini's new story-collection is a good rich read indeed.” — John Barth, on Highway Trade 

“Domini’s tales… warble with incantations, lamentations, orations; they sparkle with craftsmanship.” — Richard Price, on Bedlam

About the author

John Domini has three stories collections and three novels in print. Other books include selections of criticism and poetry. He’s published fiction in Paris Review and Ploughshares, non-fiction in GQ and the New York Times, and won a poetry prize from Meridian. Grants include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The New York Times praised his work as "dreamlike... grabs hold of both reader and character," and Alan Cheuse, of NPR, described it as "witty and biting." He has taught at Harvard, Northwestern and elsewhere and makes his home in Des Moines.