Vanessa Veselka presents Zazen
Zazen is the debut novel from Portland author Vanessa Veselka.
Somewhere in Della’s consumptive, industrial wasteland of a city, a bomb goes off. It is not the first, and will not be the last. Reactions to the attacks are polarized. Police activity intensifies. Della’s revolutionary parents welcome the upheaval but are trapped within their own insular beliefs. Her activist restaurant coworkers, who would rather change their identities than the world around them, resume a shallow rebellion of hair-dye, sex parties, and self-absorption. In search of clarity, and unburdened by ideological posturing, Della calls in bomb threats to various locations throughout her city. She relishes the panic and confusion incited by her fabrications. But when real explosions suddenly strike her imagined targets, Della is lured into a catastrophic plot from which there may be no return.
Praise for Veselka and Zazen:
"She’s penned a dystopic romp through a ravaged America. It’s the best kind of imagined world because it’s one ripe with recognizable humanness amidst unpredictable narrative bends ... The writing in Zazen is absolutely beautiful." -Joshua Mohr, The Rumpus
"Vanessa Veselka’s gritty frenetic writing serves up an exciting new flavor among today’s literary menu of MFA influenced prose ... a streaking flash of barbed satire and 21st century malaise."-Judy Krueger, New York Journal of Books
"Veselka uncovers something unironic and refreshingly free from cynicism. Simply: something new." -Paul Constant, The Stranger
"The novel sounds grim, and it is, but it’s also bitterly funny, and finely observed." -Brock Clarke, The Boston Globe