ALEX DIFRANCESCO & WILLIAM SOLDAN
Alex DiFrancesco and William Soldan will read and sign copies of their books on the B-Side Patio (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd) on Saturday, August 7th at 5 p.m.
Building on the success of All City, Alex's new book Transmutation: Stories (Seven Stories Press) is a wry, and at the same time dark and risk-taking, story collection from author (and baker) Alex DiFrancesco that pushes the boundaries of transgender awareness and filial bonds. Here is the hate between 16-year-old Junie, who is transitioning, and their mom's boyfriend Chad when the family moves into Chad's house on Lake Erie. And here is the love being tested between Sawyer and his dad, who named his boat after his child and resists changing it from Sara to Sawyer now. There is DiFrancesco's willingness to enter lands that are violent and comfortless in some of these stories, testing the limits of what it means to be human, sometimes returning stronger and wiser and sometimes not returning at all as their characters surge forward into unknown spaces.
DiFrancesco's first novel All City (Seven Stories 2019) was praised by Publishers Weekly as a loving, grieving warning [that] thoughtfully traces the resilience, fragility, and joy of precarious communities in an immediate, compassionate voice. All City was one of BookRiot's Best Post-Apocalyptic Books of 2019, Entropy Mag's Best of 2019, and Largehearted Boy's Favorite Novels of 2019. It was a finalist for the 2019 Ohioana Book Award for Fiction.
Transmutation is an eerie darling of a collection. Alex DiFrancesco has written stories here that are so unearthly they feel as if they have gossamer wings, characters lifting off the page to hold court in startling three-dimensional life. Some playful, some terrifying, all crafted with care-- Transmutation is the kind of story collection that will stick with you for days after reading. DiFrancesco is a radiant talent.
-- Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of With Teeth and Mostly Dead Things
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin House, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was the first finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards by a transgender author. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications .DiFrancesco is the human companion of a rescue Westie named Roxy Music, Dog of Doom.
Desperation. Violence. Broken homes and broken hearts. Fathers, junkies, and thieves. In Houses Burning and Other Ruins, a gritty new collection, one bad choice begets another and redemption is a twisted mirage. An ex-addict takes a detour with his young son and comes face-to-face with an old drug dealer and an unsettled debt. A down-on-his-luck gambler visits his estranged sister while figuring out his next play. An Iraq War vet fights a personal battle to reconcile life as a civilian. Three boyhood friends stumble upon a dark secret in a rural dump. These and the other troubled characters that inhabit the streets and alleys of these stories continually find themselves at the mercy of a cold, indifferent world as they hurtle downward and grapple for hard-won second chances in a life that seldom grants them.
“In Houses Burning and Other Ruins, William R. Soldan spins epic tragedies on a domestic scale. His characters struggle to survive their own poor choices in a world of limited opportunities. This makes their glaring flaws both familiar and heartbreakingly real. Inside these stories are your friends, co-workers, cousins, and neighbors hiding the shame of addiction, abuse, and extreme desperation behind an ordinary weekday mask. And it’s done so effortlessly, the urgency of the words connects with the reader immediately. Soldan is a unique, gritty literary voice in noir fiction.”J.D. Graves, EconoClash Review
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1982, William R. Soldan grew up in and around the Rust Belt city of Youngstown, Ohio, with a brief stint in the hills of southern Oregon. A high school dropout and college graduate, he holds a BA in English Literature from Youngstown State University and an MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Over the years, he has been employed as a factory machinist, maintenance man, house painter, record store clerk, line-cook, bartender, bouncer, writing instructor, personal trainer, and a host of other things. William’s work draws greatly from the urban and rural landscapes of the post-industrial Midwest–the stark beauty, the resonant history, the strength and endurance of its grappling working-class.
William’s work appears in publications such as Best American Mystery Stories 2017, Cowboy Jamboree's All We Need of Hell: A Harry Crews Tribute, Film Leaves Journal, New World Writing, Gordon Square Review and many others. His first book, In Just the Right Light was published in 2019.
William lives in Youngstown with his wife and two children and divides his time between being a fitness coach and teaching community writing workshops throughout the Youngstown area. He’s also the co-coordinator of The Strand Project, a staged set of dramatic monologues performed each spring at Selah Dinner Theatre.
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