Praise for Here Lies Memory:
"How does memory write us? What fictions haunt our bodies and lives, and what truths do we construct to carry the weight of our selves? Doug Rice designs a brutally beautiful helix from dual narratives woven by and through love and loss. Between blindness and insight there live characters who, like all of us, story a way to go on in the face of buildings decaying, cities disappearing, hearts and bodies slipping toward ghost. Mother, sister, wife, grandfather, grandson, girl, boy…all identities move through desire, love, memory, and language in a place called Pittsburgh. Reading this book made my skin sing, my heart wail, a secular hymn of the body."--Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children
“Covering all of the bases in this novel bent on conveying a deep love for the city and the people of Pittsburgh, Doug Rice ultimately makes our lives feel more dignified, loved, no matter if our local language and essence of being have become displaced. I’ve got no words for what Rice accomplishes. Just that, he beautifully brings to light everything in The ‘Burgh – and in places of the heart – that was done in the dark. ... In this book about urban dreamers, Doug Rice cooks up a proverbial storm, uprooting all kinds of shit, including the terrible silence that goes with the territory. It’s all good. Here Lies Memory drudges up everything and their momma, making night terrors and the anti/reflective “mirrortalk” of frustrated, cooped up characters richly front and center. I can’t even think of Pittsburgh property now – or any kind of dialogue about it – without this tell-it-like-it-is novel continuing to do major damage and deconstruction/destruction to not only my black-ish view of gentrification but also my psyche! ... Exploring the Pittsburgh cycle – the drama of perpetually dreaming of love and desperately searching for its essence that would make even Pulitzer Prize winning author August Wilson jealous, Rice holds nothing back, going all the way to the fences in this novel." –Ricardo Cortez Cruz, author of Straight Outta Compton, and Five Days of Bleeding.
"In Here Lies Memory Doug Rice loves his characters wondrously, keenly, completely, and the result is a novel at once stunningly beautiful, brilliant, fierce, crazily imaginative, and acutely wise about how the ghosts that our memories and words invent are often the last things to leave us, no matter what, how some stay so deep in our skin they become as real as its color — especially those that can damage and mend us most." —Lance Olsen, author of Theories of Forgetting, and others.
Reviews of Here Lies Memory
Rice explores place and memory simultaneously, removing them form the abstract via analogy: The city of Pittsburgh is as much a physical place--made of words as it is an amalgamation of memory, or that of touch. Additionally, Rice explores experience and the human condition as something of a script, or a text that is rewritten and storied by the individual and culture.
With its multi-faceted characters, rich setting, and inconstancy of memory, Here Lies Memory only makes sense – and keeps everything in some kind of organization – through its skilled use of language. The narrator of the novel has a cadence through which it delivers the text, and that cadence is reminiscent of mantra and epic poetry.
Rice’s dialog is saying things that his characters need to say in order to exist in the book, but it also functions symbolically. I think of another type of symbolism, not in terms of the cultural currency of its content, but in the way its function shades how the book is meant to exist within the culture of literature. For example, J.K. Huysmans’ Des Esseintes’ interest in flowers concurrently represents the project for modern literature embodied in A Rebours, “He had done with artificial flowers aping the true; he wanted natural flowers imitating the false.” The language of expression between the citizens of Here Lies Memory is that strange flower, with “the appearance of a fictitious skin marked by an imitation network of veins.”
Here Lies Memory provokes intuition. A reflex causing the reader to look inward. This novel is not mindless entertainment. No forbearance from reality. If anything, Rice’s novel highlights what’s real. Makes people reconsider their lives.
Praise for Blood of Mugwump:
“The most gorgeous sentences and rhythms … I’m drooling and I bet that even Faulkner, though dead, is taking notice. Most impressive, however, is Rice’s entry into the gender wars. Rice redefines male (his identity?) and female (his other?) by submitting them to unremitting, infinite questioning. What emerges is a poetry as analysis grounded in what must be called ‘the real’.” –Kathy Acker, author of Blood and Guts in High School, Don Quixote: A Novel, In Memoriam to Identity, and others.
“Rice’s prose is a kind of wondrous thing, a kind of porn on acid as transcribed by J.R.R. Tolkien that wraps the virtually nonstop sex scenes in a lush, quirky, wild-eye innocent poetry of elegantly bad manners. … It’s as though Rice, in his high postmodernist fashion, set out to write a novel of the sort that Acker’s Burroughs’ novels would want to have sex with.”—Dennis Cooper, author of Closer
Praise for Skin Prayer: fragments of abject memory
“Skin Prayer is a series of mysterious and deeply evocative meditations: erotic, sacred, tender, grave, profane.” –Carole Maso, author of Ava, The Art Lover and others
“Where does desire become words? Under a new Sun of Melancholy placed in the sky by Doug Rice. I want to live in a remote valley where the larynx is a sexual organ. Rice names his companions in that valley: Bataille, Acker, Christ, Leduc, Goytisolo. He writes inside the turmoil of flesh, and uses the word Doug to nail his terror and exaltation to the real.” –Bob Gluck, author of Communal Nude, Marge Kempe, and others
“Skin Prayer is the power of redemption in the word when life has failed us. It has no inside or outside, it is only itself. It is the self-enclosed, hermetic world of obsessive need, a space where one can’t breathe. And yet it is breath. In its own suffocated space, if we survive it, or a patient enough not to throw it aside, it gives us insufferable hope.” –Leslie Heywood, author of Pretty Good for a Girl
Praise for Between Appear and Disappear:
“Between Appear and Disappear is a secular prayer, a body prayer, between seeing and saying, between experience and representation. It is the only book that I have ever read in my life that is truly corporeal, which is to say truly embodied by and through desire in language. I will hold it close to my heart for the rest of my life. Kind of I wanted to eat it. Definitely I slept with it under my pillow. It is an unforgettable and perfect book at a time when we need books to be exactly what they are, gloriously, unapologetically, real.” –Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children, The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase.
“Doug Rice has written a beautiful-beyond-words American River (poem).” –Sharon Doubiago, author of My Father’s Love, Love in the Streets, and Hard Country.
A Favorite Book of 2013—HTML GIANT
Praise for Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist:
"This book is about exposure(s). About the amount of light falling on photographic film, or coming up through memory or words, in ways that will determine the amount of darkness or of brilliance, of obscurity or shine. It is about exposing the self to someone else, perhaps someone inside of you, perhaps someone you glimpsed once in the mirror. Doug’s words are always intimate, and always bring a raw or stung or visceral response. It takes a while to come back to yourself, sometimes, but when you do, you’re glad for where you’ve been." –Rebecca Brown, author of The Dogs: A Modern Bestiary, Annie Oakley’s Girl, and others.
"Doug Rice is a writer whose intelligence strives to be naked. He chooses to dredge the self, which rots and reflects, from the hollows of poetry’s bones.”—Rob Hardin, Sensitive Skin
"This is also a book of appearances: photographs which layer visitation with the real. The man abandons gender – that amputation and stillness – appears in women's clothes. The book turns its fantastical pages through a sequence of white frames... they gesture to she who shimmers before language – who has entered the pull of water, and its signature, the river." - Camille Roy, author of Sherwood Forest and The Rosy Medallions
“Doug Rice is unlike any other writer we’ve brought to campus, in that he’s avant-garde. Though his two latest books are called “memoir,” they represent, to my mind, the farthest reaches of what you can do and still call something in the realm of memoir. His work combines narrative—I don’t think it’s possible with Doug to further classify it as fiction or nonfiction—photography and even, in the case of Dream Memoirs, incorporating a tactile element to the act of reading. I think it’s fair to say that he attempts to break down our habitual distinctions between self and other, between gendered identities, between memory and reality, and between language and the material world.”—Paul Eggers, The Departure Lounge: Stories and a Novella.
“It’s queer, surreal, and will probably blow your mind.” –The San Francisco Bay Guardian
Praise for A Good Cuntboy is Hard to Find:
What has been truly obscured by the NEA controversy is the quality of Rice's writing. A Good Cuntboy Is Hard to Find is not easy reading. But neither is it shock for shock's sake. Here, as in his previous book, Rice undertakes the formidable project of re-situating literary history within a transgressive landscape, of quoting our esteemed forebears with an addled tongue. As such, his work circumscribes the boundary of postmodernism, even as it circumcises words to do it. –Emily Streight, in Rain Taxi
“Doug Rice is the postmodern equivalent of those great medieval mystics who came—and came and came—when they saw God. His ecstatic, abject writing sounds to me like Faulkner on LSD.”—Steven Shaviro, author of Doom Patrols
“With little girl tenderness, Doug Rice pulls us up into the monstrous arena of his imagination to show us the surface tremors beneath his blood. … Rice’s prose submerges the reader in a deluge of dazzling imagery, presented in a style unique and mesmerizing—without question Rice is on of the most interesting voices in the American literary scene today.”—Julia Solis, author of New York Underground and Stages of Decay
“Doug Rice has broken through a barrier in writing. He’s like all those Southern writers—Faulkner, Williams, O’Connor—except he’s writing about the dark secret that is so bad it can only be hinted at in that type of story.”—Don Webb, author of The Double.