RESEARCH: A NOVEL FOR PERFORMANCE (2014)
COMING OCTOBER 2014
“It’s a rare thing to come across a work of art so entirely original. Rarer still for it to be this good. Someone said this, and I have stolen it. To read Research: A Novel For Performance is to get taken to language with new eyes, tunneled into the brain’s language caves by the brilliance of Joseph Riipi’s attention to language, by his every word and turn of phrase, taken to an investigation of language and its impacts, I must say it is most original in form and yet in the work I hear Beckett’s long sighing, I hear Thornton Wilder and his characters speak, I hear Gordon Lish languaging, I hear Gertrude Stein moving phrases around and around, I hear so many minds paying attention to each sound, to each word, to each turning of word to meaning to longing to impossibility back to possibilities. It’s a rare thing to come across a work of art so entirely original. Rarer still for it to be this good.”
—Luke B. Goebel, author of Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours
“Through Riippi’s continued reinterpretation of his own words, we’re given the template to start the journey. The collaborative nature of theatre, it’s redefined in a moment of time. Through every performance, through every viewing, the remembering begins to live and change and grow. Through our recounting after, it’s mythologized. In time, it is my dream to keep the process going, to see how far we can take it. How deep can we go in the reimagining? What’s the story of making Research? What happens when we perform it again in a new place, when it’s toured, when it’s filmed, when it’s not, and retold? What Riippi has done with Research that is so unique is to challenge the reader, the audience, to change his words, to redefine his creation, his story, into something their own. He’s given us his story to engineer into another through the bold act of remembering.”
—Nick Leavens, from the Afterword
“Research is a story about memory and its unreliability, about a boy trying to create a new future for himself by remembering the past differently, by nudging those water lilies into new positions as they reframe. Consider this: Memory is itself an act of creation, and to re-member is an act of re-creation. Like writing a word, and then erasing the word, and then rewriting the word in the first word’s place, memory too is palimpsest; the final form of any performance or remembered event exists only in the lost present tense of that event.”
—From “A Note on the Text”
“In Because, Joseph Riippi says he wants this book to be ‘a love letter, a prayer, a purge’ but it actually becomes even more than that. It’s a bursting-at-the-seams dream that cradles so many wishes and passions into its wide scope that it constantly surprises with unexpected turns and brilliant thoughts. It transcends its simple mantra-like structure and becomes a reverberating world of beauty and wonder.”
–Kevin Sampsell, author of This Is Between Us
“Hypnotic, magical, and experimental: Joseph Riippi’s Because will crack your heart open.”
–Chloe Caldwell, author of Legs Get Led Astray
“I’ve always liked this kind of book—the kind that treats its formal conceit not as parlor game but as quarry—and I loveBecause in particular. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking cairn built of need and desire, love and nostalgia, caprice and obsession, generosity and ambition and hope.”
–Roy Kesey, author of Any Deadly Thing
“I don’t read too many books wherein the author bares everything of himself, opens his chest and lets his innards spill out. The offal truth of Joseph Riippi’s Because stinks to high heaven with beauty. This book took me inside my own childhood, inside my relationship with my wife and my daughter, and made me want to be a better human. All this in a novel about someone else. Amazing.”
–Jamie Iredell, author of I Was A Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac
“‘I want,’ says Joseph Riippi, and begins at once to disarm and charm the reader with a series of declarative statements. This sounds simple, but it’s anything but – by the time you reach the last page of BECAUSE, you’ll realize what an intricate and beautiful building Riippi has made of human life, and how sorry you are to leave it. This inventive, heartbreaking book is a gorgeous, painfully honest examination of what it means to be a person, and I want everyone I know to read it.
–Amber Sparks, author of The Desert Places and May We Shed These Human Bodies
“The anaphoric ebb and flow of Joseph Riippi’s Because is bound to remind one of Joe Brainard’s I Remember. But while Riippi’s book is similarly incantatory and moving, it is also more wistful, more painful. There is a beautiful vulnerability in Riippi’s many wants, an aching sadness that stays with the reader.”
–Gabriel Blackwell, author of The Natural Dissolution of Fleeting-Improvised-Men
PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON (an interrogation) (2014)
“I’m not going to do one of those typical blurb things and say Joseph Riippi is a mix between Che Guevara and Susan B. Anthony. I’m not going to say if Anna Akhmatova and Terry Southern had a baby it would be Joseph Riippi. I’m going to tell you Joseph Riippi is Joseph Riippi and that’s enough for me. And Joseph Riippi’s Puyallup, Washington is a badass book from a badass boy. You’re going to find all kinds of stuff in here like babies and mountains, a guy named Ezra, latitudes and longitudes, census data, town fairs and the story of time. Who doesn’t like latitudes and longitudes and mountains? If you don’t, then I want absolutely nothing to do with you—and Joseph Riippi doesn’t either.”
- Scott McClanahan, Hill William
A CLOTH HOUSE (2012)
“Simply put, A Cloth House will break your heart.”
- Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party
“Looking at Joseph Riippi — 6″4, wild hair, hands that eat mine in a handshake and a imposing presence — you would never suspect the sensitive, tender writing that flows from his prodigious mind…His work reminds me of the evocative work of certain directors like Terrence Malick…His attention to the details of small objects, seeing in them something always larger encompasses much of his works propulsive power.”
- Joe Winkler, Volume 1 Brooklyn
“A Cloth House is really a phenomenal read, a tight and interwoven novella that not only proves the worth and future value of Housefire Publishing but also gives Joseph Riippi an even broader hold in our contemporary lit scene, and should widen his already large readership.”
– JA Tyler, Monkeybicyle
“A Cloth House will put a death grip on your heartstrings. It’s a mystery that unravels on every page and, above all, a beautiful examination of the way our lives and memories are shaped, by love and anguish, birth and death, blessings and tragedies.”
– Thomas Michael Duncan, PANK Magazine
“In A Cloth House, Joseph Riippi creates a world that’s both soft and sharp, deftly examining the ways our tragedies shape us and the memories we invent to survive in the aftermath. Simply put, A Cloth House will break your heart.
– Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party
In A Cloth House, Joseph Riippi is alive to the modes of regret and tenderness that can exist at the same time, in the same person. His great talent is for dramatizing these modes with a purity that can make his readers feel as though they are watching a beloved film.
– Edward Mullany, If I Falter At The Gallows
Joseph Riippi knows what it’s like to be ‘the fat girl’ and he proves it in A Cloth House. He also proves that houses made of cloth (or any other ad-hoc tent or ‘fort’) is not enough to shield that girl from pain or to protect her from the things that she will lose.
– John Dermot Woods, The Complete Collection of People, Places & Things
With A Cloth House Joseph Riippi is here to remind us that our imaginations are as fragile as the pillow forts we built in our youth. And for the love of God, we’ll thank him for helping us think about those things that don’t hurt quite so much.
– Mark Cugini, Big Lucks
Presented by Housefire Books
5 x 6 chapbook. Six colored letter pressed covers w/ punch out. Repurposed end papers. Each copy is unique and hand numbered. Printed on high quality 24# copy paper. Printed and bound in an edition of 100 by Greying Ghost Press in Salem, Mass.
“Joseph Riippi’s poems? Imagine if Confucius, a Grimm Brother, and Lou Reed were to somehow procreate. Well, this book would devour their offspring. His writing blends countless styles with a modern twist that will stick to your sternum like no other chapbook we’ve published.”
- Carl Annarummo, Greying Ghost Press
“Joseph Riippi knows how to grow an elegant surface and a darkly remembered underbelly together. In Treesisters, he elevates the dematerialization of childhood to the disappearance of a sibling—and only-children too will be dazzled.”
- Melissa Broder, author of Meat Heart
THE ORANGE SUITCASE (2011)
“Visceral and vivid, a kind of rabbit hole the reader descends into and is reluctant to leave. A wonderful collection from a deeply talented writer.”
“From fragmentary childhood recollections Riippi construes a narrative in which figures of memory and dream cleave, in which elision supplants illusion as the engine of meaning.”
From Jason Cook, publisher: In the 34 stories filling The Orange Suitcase, Joseph Riippi packs an intimate and powerful portrait of one young man’s life. From a childhood spent snipering neighbors with BB guns to an adulthood grasping after love and art in New York City, The Orange Suitcase shows us not only the way life is lived, but—perhaps more importantly—the way it is remembered.
Praise for The Orange Suitcase
“The orange suitcase…becomes an abiding metaphor for the collection as a whole–ungainly but earnest and, in the end, charming.”
“With Do Something! Do Something! Do Something! Joseph Riippi showed he can tell a brilliant story and invent haunting characters. Now he unpacks The Orange Suitcase to show how, in short sections, he can stretch out an artful life with sensitivity and depth. There is Something About This Book.”
“A journey through familiar time and space, a distance marked not by roadside attractions but by the tangible objects of the narrator’s past. Riippi lifts these objects out of the daily clutter, then lights and colors them anew, invoking their long-held power to contain the persons they once belonged to.”
“One of the great things about [The Orange Suitcase] is the way that is accumulates through fragments and glimpses and flashes of story until the reader has constructed an entire implied narrative in their own brain.”
“Joseph Riippi manages to reveal those sublime, often subtle details we all too often ignore. He takes moments and turns them into monuments and does so with such an intimacy you don’t want the book to end.”
DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! (2009)
“What is especially clear throughout Do Something Do Something Do Something is that Joseph Riippi is a student of the human heart and a keen observer of emotional complexity. Do Something Do Something Do Something is, with any luck, a precursor to a body of work that will shine new light on the darkest recesses of the human heart for years to come.”
– Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews
From Jason Cook, publisher, Ampersand Books: In this fragmented, nontraditional narrative, debut author Joseph Riippi explores the aftermath of stories, rather than simply telling them: A music critic chants Susan Sontag quotes in a mental institution; a young girl looks to her starfish tattoo for regrowth; a disenchanted playwright flees divorce and human shrapnel. DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! is the story of uncertainty in a new America, of three young people looking for peace and definitiveness in an increasingly shaky and volatile homeland.
Praise for Do Something! Do Something! Do Something!
“…the gritty feel of cyber punk…real talent on the page”
“…moments of profound tenderness and emotional truth.”
“I couldn’t stop reading Joseph Riippi’s oddly- named novel…The features that carry the book are the vignettes Riippi embeds into [his characters’] stories…they are wowing.”