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First edition: December 9 2016
• DESCRIPTION •
You can hear Steve in the backyard, but you should've seen him on the porch.
Bob Seger-loving, Dunkies-sipping, warding off the backslide. His band is The Steamrollers. His wife is Saundra (for now). His daughter is Nancy, and her favorite word is shampoo or loops or whatever friggin suits her.
Through four seasons and a restless survey, Kelly’s Roast Beef and Salisbury Beach, Steve Industry leaks his heart into his harmonica solo.
Hilarious and tender, Ben Hersey’s debut novel disgorges a powerful new vision of contemporary working class New England.
Cover by Justin Brown Durand
• BIO •
Ben Hersey is a writer and performance artist who has been featured at a wide variety of literary, performing arts, and music festivals. His experimental work draws from contemporary poetry, noise, New England colonial history, genealogy, and found texts.
Hersey teaches writing and composition at Holyoke Community College and lives in Easthampton, MA with his wife and son. The Autograph of Steve Industry is his first novel.
• EXCERPTS •
Interview, excerpt, hockey GIF
One piece at The Lit Hub
Five pieces in Everyday Genius
Nine pieces in Summer Stock
Two pieces at Dig Boston
• REVIEWS •
“Ben Hersey is one of our favorite local thinkers. His solo work often melds crafted monologue and formal storytelling with live composition, vocal improvisation and chance operations such as cheesecake and a chair tied to his ankle.”
— Boston Hassle
“Only a funny person, whose life went through the ringer that is Route One, could shine through as a genuine scribe of the Keno zeitgeist circa 2009. The one-liners, the deep shit ... Naked confessional, transparency. Populist. A super fun read.”
— G Gordon Gritty @ Kids Like You and Me
“The real joy of the work is the way the hyper-kinetic prose gushes with emotion and heart, but never in an overwhelmingly sentimental way. Hersey’s innovative analysis/poetic breakdown of the life experience is a pure pleasure to behold.”
— Mel Bosworth @ The Small Press Book Review
• BLURBS •
“The Autograph of Steve Industry is a mind-trip between Dickens and Kid Rock. Lively, relentless, and wholly unique, Ben Hersey gives every feeling a stage. It’s like Pandora’s box, if Pandora was a hoarder.”
— Rachel B. Glaser, author of Paulina & Fran
“What hits hard and fast here is the heat of the thing: Hersey writes with burning brain. The Autograph of Steve Industry is set now, and tells a tale of these tricky times, but there are big, older urgencies at work. The whole is ‘like a hint of hot sauce, whisperin…’”
— Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome
“I have a very dear friend who has developed, over many years, through writing and live performance, a character named Steve Industry, who hails from the suburbs of Boston and is the lead singer of "Boston's Greatest Bar Band," the Steamrollers. I think of Steve Industry often, especially his desire to see and taste and express the sweetness of life that is so often derailed by his own hopefulness, further alienating him from the world. His chronology is a set of questions, his outlook is a resistance to futility, and his daughter is a beacon that often directs him aground.
Clarice Lispector writes in Água Viva, "I am not going to be autobiographical. I want to be 'bio.'" Steve Industry gives you his autograph.”
— Ella Longpre, author of Apocalune
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