Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Music for a Broken Piano


Music for a Broken Piano
by James Baker Hall

Price: $10.95


"...a trip to the dark side of the liberal imagination. It is a book about the longing for community, about the real world's refusal to be tempted by idealizations, about the destructiveness of certain forms of fantasy. The writing is wonderful, the characters compelling." —Larry McMurty


When they weren't talking permanent community there around the fireplace in the big dinning room, they were talking Makar. Some of the messages he pinned up on the bulletin board were straightforward enough, U.C./ Long ago/ I declared WAR against arrogance & IGNORANCE, or A-2/ Note:/ please don't try to harm or even touch my BLACK MADONNA/ she will love & radiate/ the universe so don't/ be unkind to her, or They attacked mi (do ray mi)/25 miles from Home/ with MENTAL, BIOLOGICAL, CHEMICAL warfare; but others were a good deal more cryptic, Win Yen/ I Won/ Long ago/ on the AGEAN SEE/ wind I wuz Sohocles/ so turn if you are not True; and still others were flat-out incomprehensible to almost everyone there. Like everything that he did, or was imagined doing, his messages got scrutinized more or less closely by everyone, and even those who tried to dismiss them found that they had to dismiss them again and again.

Makar lived on the second floor of an old barn that had been converted into a dormitory and studios, in more of a stall than a room, four walls and a door but no ceiling; surrounded by young people, five males and two females, all like him without real privacy. He was the only man at Farmington without a woman, or the possibility of a woman - or so it seemed for the first half of the summer. Obvious as that was and important as it would seem, it was difficult for anyone to talk about, impossible except among close friends. It had the feel of some kind of reacial slur, an effort to get a hold of him in some cheap discredited way.