"'Anonymous' a fitting tribute to Chuck Palahniuk."

By Sean Leary

Fans of Chuck Palahniuk won’t choke on Jason Tanamor’s inventive and darkly humorous novel, “Anonymous.” In fact, they should find it to be an incisive, tough and bloody good feast – an imaginative twist around the sewer drain that sometimes plays as a literary version of HBO’s “Oz.””

Tanamor, Editor of Zoiks! Online, describes his latest work as “an homage to Palahniuk,” and it reads with the same dark fascinating menace emitted by the work of the creator of bestsellers “Fight Club” and “Choke.”

“Anonymous” tells a variety of strange and sordid tales, related by a group of faceless jailbirds communicating through empty pipes and other connectors between cells.

Recently, I sat down with Tanamor at an area bus stop, and, while heating a can of Spam over a Sterno flame and busking for some spare change, we discussed his work.

Q – “Anonymous” reads both as a collection of short stories and a sustained narrative novel. Did it begin as a group of short stories? When did you decide to evolve it into a novel and why? What is its origin?

A – It began as a short story written for “Playboy” magazine. The editors didn’t like it, but liked me enough to assign me an editor. So, I wrote another story. Again, nothing came out of it. I had a couple stories with a common thread that ultimately became “Anonymous.”

I’ve heard or read many stories in my life, ones about murderers, rapists, con artists, whatever, and it seems that there is always one common link among them – that they never seem to fit the profile by everyday people. Whenever a murderer is being hauled away by the police, neighbors interviewed always say the same thing, “He was always so nice. This doesn’t seem like him.” So, I thought I would write a book about these types of people – ordinary folks who do things that you would never accuse them of doing – which probably feeds into why innocent bystanders get duped or conned by them. It’s titled “Anonymous” because of just that, “I was conned by an ordinary, average looking person.”

Q – What is it about Chuck Palahniuk’s work that draws you in, and how do you feel your work, and this novel in particular, echoes that?

A – Palahniuk’s stories aren’t like ones you see every day. However, they are real stories that happen to real people. With “Anonymous,” I wanted to touch on stories that happen to real people that were not only interesting, but important. This book is similar to Palahniuk in the respect that the style and themes are similar. However, it stands on its own as an entertaining and intense story.

Q – What inspires you in general, and what inspired you to put this book together?

A – People with messed up lives inspire me. They make me feel like my life is normal. I wanted to write a book with stories that people like to hear, but don’t necessarily like to tell.

Q – How do you feel your writing has evolved over the years, and what do you think has driven it to evolve along the way?

A – I think I’m a more precise storyteller. I’m intense when I need to be, funny when I have to be, and charming when I can be. I used to write stories that I thought people wanted to hear, even though I didn’t. Now, I write stories that I want to hear, with the hope that other people want to hear them too. By doing this, I’m catering to my likes, which reflects in my writing. And if you haven’t yet met me, I’m intense, funny, and charming, all at the same time.

Q – What do you have planned for the future in regard to your work?

A – All I want to do is write. All I want to do is tell people stories. If I can do that for the rest of my life, my future looks pretty good.

Check out the novel here: “Anonymous” at Amazon.com.


Sean Leary's recent and current projects include the alt-rock "Spinal Tap" comedy film "Your Favorite Band" (www.yourfavoritebandthefilm.com), the award-winning short story collection "Every Number Is Lucky To Someone" (available in bookstores nationwide and on Amazon.com) and his website: www.getyourgoodnews.com.

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