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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 amateur detective Risto. He’s 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 remarkable, droll meditation on film; in particular, on film genre; more particularly still, on how all great works of art either invent a genre or dissolve one.”

—David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and War is Beautiful

"Movieola! is a glory -- smart, cutting and funny. John Domini moves through the absurd tropes of modern Hollywood with menace and glee, and eventually gets to that scary place where we all dwell, our delusional but self-sustaining personal movies flickering inside our skulls, all of us bit players praying for a major arc."

—Sam Lipsyte

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

—Padgett Powell

"In Movieola!, John Domini reveals himself as one of the rarest (and best) types of satirist, a writer as interested in the lives of his characters as he is inventive parody and sharp commentary. The voices we hear speaking in his stories are as captivating as the world of film they describe, with each new character delivering a striking performance within the theater of the page."

—Matt Bell, author of Scrapper

“Reading John Domini is always the smartest kind of fun – and beneath the brainy humor, the delicious wordplay, and the wry observations, there's a warm beating heart and a giddy excitement for our most egalitarian art form. Everyone who loves movies will love this book.”

—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World and Other Stories

“Like Coover’s A Night at the Movies, Movieola! demonstrates a lover’s attentiveness to the mannerisms and conventions of film.  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.  Two thumbs up!”

—Chris Sorrentino

Praise for John Domini’s fiction

"Streetwise and pain-acquainted, John Domini's new story-collection is a good rich read indeed."

—John Barth on Highway Trade

“John Domini has brilliantly turned one of literary fiction’s neatest tricks: he has vividly and accurately evoked a past time and milieu—the alternative cultural scene of the mid-’70s—and in the process he has illuminated our own times with dazzling clarity. Talking Heads: 77 also manages to be both cutting-edge innovative and splendidly readable. This book is a flat-out delight.”

—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 1993 

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.