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Winner of the 2014 Miami University Press Novella Prize
When Pinson Charfo wakes one morning to find a strange note at his bedside from a Mr. Ralfo to a Mr. Cormill, neither of whom he knows, it proves to be the first in a series of odd clues designed specifically for him to follow, embroiling him in a complex mystery featuring plagiarized manifestos, narcotized cultists, the search for pornographic prints, and a busted fountain whose runoff forms an underground lake beneath the never-named city’s unsuspecting feet. Tote Hughes’s Fountain is a metaphysical detective story unlike any other, a comic tour de force set in a labyrinthine world of shifting signs and dreamlike insolubility.
Reviews & Such
David Rawson's interview with Tote Hughes appeared in Heavy Feather Review on May 28, 2015.
John Wilkinson, Associate Chair for Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Chicago, gave the introduction to Hughes’s Seminary Co-op Bookstore reading on April 15, 2015.
Publishers Weekly reviewed Fountain on March 9, 2015: “In this first-person narrative told in Charfo's voice, the journey becomes the reward … Readers experience the topsy-turvy sense of having landed in media res in a strange world without knowledge of the landmarks. … an intelligent, perceptive novel."
John Taylor recommended Fountain in the March 2015 edition of Midwest Book Review: "Erudite, complex, deftly constructed...Very highly recommended for community and academic library literary fiction collections."
A micro review of Fountain appeared in Nerds of a Feather Flock Together in March 2015: "Fountain has that wonderfully bizarre but ingenious feel that leaves you on the edge of your seat grasping for more."
Fountain seems not unlike a witty and elegant English translation of some peculiar allegory from another land and another time. It’s wonderful, in other words. I deeply admire this antic, atmospheric, and dreamily vivid tale.
Tote Hughes's Fountain is one of the strangest books I've come across in years, and I mean that as an extraordinary compliment. Hughes has the bureaucratic weirdness of Kafka, the twisted mystery of Hitchcock, the obsessive introspection of Bernhard, and a wholly original, funny-as-hell voice that makes me sure we'll be seeing lots more of this writer for a long time to come.
About the Author
Tote Hughes lives in Geneva, Switzerland, working at CERN in pursuit of a PhD in high energy physics.