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Novel Excerpts | Word Riot
Novel Excerpts | May 16, 2016

Acrylic Hearts by Tricia Kucinski

Tricia Kucinski is a Content Strategist in the digital marketing space, and is currently acclimating to the turtle-paced suburbs of Chicago—albeit, not without a fight. Acrylic Hearts is an excerpt from her forthcoming debut novel, The Courage to Exist in Daylight. A separate excerpt has previously been published in Story Week Reader.

Novel Excerpts | April 15, 2015

Clean Time: The True Story of Ronald Reagan Middleton by Ben Gwin

Ben Gwin’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Normal School, Mary: A Journal of New Writing, IDK Magazine and others. His novel manuscript Clean Time: The True Story of Ronald Reagan Middleton was shortlisted for Butler University’s 2014 Pressgang Prize. Ben is the Fiction Editor at Burrow Press Review. He lives in Pittsburgh with his daughter.

Novel Excerpts | January 15, 2015

The Church of Our Lord of Higher Necessity by Ranbir Singh Sidhu

Ranbir Singh Sidhu is the author of Good Indian Girls and a winner of a Pushcart Prize in fiction. His stories appear in Conjunctions, The Literary Review, The Georgia Review, Fence, The Happy Hypocrite, Other Voices, Alaska Quarterly Review, and other journals. Find him at

Novel Excerpts | January 15, 2015

You Are Free to Go by Sarah Yaw

Sarah Yaw’s novel You Are Free To Go (Engine Books, 2014) was selected by Robin Black as the winner of the 2013 Engine Books Novel Prize; her short work has appeared in Salt Hill. Sarah received an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, and is an associate professor at Cayuga Community College. She lives in Central New York.

Novel Excerpts | November 15, 2014

F-250 by Bud Smith

Bud Smith works heavy construction in New Jersey. His books are the novels F-250; and Tollbooth; the short story collection Or Something Like That; and the poetry collection Everything Neon. He lives on 173rd street and Haven Avenue in New York City, with his wife, who just hung a jack-o-lope on the wall.

Novel Excerpts | March 16, 2014

Rebrand by James Matthews

[Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2]

Chapter 3: Chivalry

(Noalsy the Bailiff)

It fucking gets my goat when Rebrand calls me that – our good sheriff’s man like some glowering mute with a steel toe-capped brain stood complementing the impressive masonry till an arrow germinates in his chainmail. I don’t work for the courts, I’m free lance. Solo. Ronin. My only master’s my code. And at least it’s fucking real.

Rebrand’s ‘relative ethics’ means just doing whatever he bloody well likes and sucking a justification out of his thumb after. Criticises me for ‘absolutism’ like it’s a one-move checkmate

Novel Excerpts | February 16, 2014

Tollbooth by Bud Smith

Tollbooth is a novel that was published by Piscataway House.

Synopsis: Jimmy Saare collects tolls on the New Jersey Parkway. He’s had a mental snap, as a result, is becoming uncontrollably fixated with the 19 year old Gena who works the copy machine at Officetown. Despite his wife Sarah’s impending pregnancy, Jimmy pursues his desire for Gena, unexpectedly becoming more entangled with the strange manipulations of an anarchistic teenager, Kid with Clownhead, who wants to start his own destructive cult when he grows up.


Shrieking tires startled me from my magazine: swimsuit girls kissing deep in tropical water.

Novel Excerpts | February 16, 2014

Rebrand by James Matthews

The exquisite cadaver will drink the new wine. (Surrealist fragment)


(Mike Rebrand)

Let me count the ways I fucking hate Noalsy. Could probably sue him on more than one count as well. Defamation, if nothing else. Saying I’ve got no personality! I’ve got more than that workaday knucklefuck in my back pocket. More than most people actually. I collect them.

I mean, take this: I give a master class on how to better yourself in the blink of an eye, and he goes and seals me up in a bloody mausoleum for my trouble. And posts a pissed

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2013

Rebrand by Jim Matthews

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster Let him in constancy follow the Master…


(Noalsy the Bailiff)

Like a lot of paranoid kids I invented my own superstitions, so as to be bound by them. Mostly quite arbitrary and to do with things like holding your breath while crossing between two Belisha beacons and not blinking till the white dot on the telly disappeared. Get ready press the off switch and stare the bleeder right out. If anyone disrupted those customs I’d feel off-key all day.

I never had any time for things like broken

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2013

Understudies by Ravi Mangla

Whenever I passed a parked car with a scrawled price in the window, I invariably pulled over for a closer look. For a long time I devoted myself to the conspiracy that some ruffian was siphoning gas from my tank, before conceding to the chilling truth: my truck was a guzzler. In a modern world, ten miles to a gallon was the rough equivalent of highway robbery.      I parked at the end of the driveway. A man was sitting on the front steps, can in koozie. The closer he came, the larger he loomed, with biceps as wide as

Novel Excerpts | December 15, 2013

The Revenant by George Saitoh

Listen to a reading of “The Revenant” by George Saitoh.

SYNOPSIS: After over a decade of exile in France, from a Yugoslavia since dissolved into independent states, Zinc embarks on a reluctant homecoming aboard his small cargo vessel, the Baceuse. From the moment of departure across a winter Mediterranean he is tormented by what he has left behind and what might lie ahead. En route he passes the beautiful island of Corsica where he spent a forgettable but not forgotten year of training with the French Foreign Legion to become the man he wished he had been when his hometown

Novel Excerpts | August 18, 2013

The Cristiania Pushers’ Dog Show by Per Šmidl

An except from the novel Wagon 537 Christiania

Per Šmidl lived in a wagon in Copenhagen’s Christinia for two years. His autobiographical novel describes living there among people with an individual and original approach to life, curious tourists, anarchists and whatever category you can think of.

Christiania’s birthday opened the yellowed photo album of my mind exactly to the page where the pictures from Christiania’s ten years anniversary celebration are forever inserted. On that day, one of the items on the agenda was a dog show. This epic event took place in the open area in front of The

Novel Excerpts | August 18, 2013

CAT-STEALER by Simon Jacobs

Listen to a reading of “CAT-STEALER” by Simon Jacobs.

When he whirls around in the doorway to face me, that’s when I see what he’s taken: tucked under his arm, limp and nonplussed as all get out, it’s our beloved cat, held like a hostage. This is what people are doing now, just walking into other peoples’ houses and seizing pets like there’s no such thing as ownership. But I cannot accept this.      “PUT SMOKY DOWN.”      This was in the days before we left for good, while we were deciding what to leave behind to the elements and

Novel Excerpts | June 15, 2013

Bullshit Rodeo by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Bullshit Rodeo is a nonlinear narrative written from the perspective of a woman stuck at the poverty level in rural Texas who is struggling with depression, anxiety, a sexless marriage, motherhood and unrequited love. It is a bitter love letter to Texas and a starry eyed love letter to California and Dan Zero, the anti-hero of the small press.

Last night my friend from Los Angeles called to check on me. She was drinking a six dollar bottle of wine she had purchased at Trader Joe’s. She told me there are three vortices on her property and she can hear

Novel Excerpts | January 15, 2013

Getting Lucky by Thomas E. Kennedy

Excerpt from novella “Getting Lucky,” from GETTING LUCKY: NEW & SELECTED STORIES, 1982-2012.

(Part I of V)

I. The Award      Lucas “Lucky” Bohannon lays the tux out on the ratty bedspread alongside his leopard-skin pillbox hat, black designer T-shirt, and white suspenders. He wishes Lotte-Mia was with him – he could tell her this hotel is the one where Joe Buck spent his first nights in Manhattan in Midnight Cowboy. You have to be quick to see it in the movie — it’s only on screen for a second or two – a long, vertical, neon sign hugging the