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The Human War
by Noah Cicero
$12.00    144 pp    ISBN 1-879193-11-6

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Noah Cicero wrote a book called The Human War in 2003. Among contemporary indie lit writers, I've noticed that no single book is cited as an influence more often.
--Ani Smith, We Who Are About to Die

The Human War gives us the world of the powerless. Some of the characters are for the war, others are against it, but none of it matters. Their opinions are irrelevant; nothing they say will make any difference. The Human War doesn?t come to any neat conclusions: it is a novel about confusion mixed with revulsion... I think it is a beautifully crafted work but there is no flashy, artful striving for literary effect of the sort you find in prize-winning fiction. The prose is a brutal vernacular. This is how a huge American underclass talks. Reading The Human War I was reminded of the kind of world Kurt Cobain came from -- marginalized, poor, dysfunctional. An American world far removed from Hollywood or John Updike's fiction.... The Human War is also, it must be said, a very funny book. It satires America, and I kept hooting with laughter at its deadpan wit. But it doesn't disrespect or patronize its characters....So what is The Human War in the end? A satirical anti-war masterpiece. A study of the condition of a contemporary underclass. A working class classic.
--Ellis Sharp, The Sharp Side

"It's like Ibsen's and Beckett's plays," begins 26-year-old author Noah Cicero when asked about his fiction. "Rimbaud's and Pound's poetry, Hemingway's and Bukowski's prose all fucked and had a baby." The angry young author and poet burst on to the literary stage in June 2003, just three months after the start of the Iraq conflict, with his shattering debut novel The Human War (published by Fugue State Press): a terse, polemical and often violent book that follows Mark, a disaffected American everyman, through the trailer parks, bedrooms, dive bars and strip joints of humdrum Youngstown, Ohio during the final two hours leading up to the dawn of America's supposed "War on Terror."
    Subsequently, The Human War sent shockwaves across Europe but, rather tellingly, it was nigh on ignored in his homeland. Born in 1980 and from Youngstown himself, it seems Cicero's vitriolic attack on Bush, God and the Iraq war was just too much for the average American reviewer to stomach. "Nobody wanted to take a firm stance on anything," explains Noah. "And if you gave The Human War a review, you had to take that line. So, people wouldn't review it."
    It didn't stop him; he sold as many copies of the book as he could to people in bars in Ohio for five dollars each. "To all kinds of people, from stoners, to preppies, to indie kids." Word soon spread, and eventually a number of copies found their way over to the UK, where the literary blogging scene was the first to pick up on the maverick author... America's finest literary pariah? You bet.
--Lee Rourke, Dazed & Confused

Noah Cicero's The Human War talks about meaninglessness, the stupidity of human beings, the worthlessness and dumbassedness of human beings; while reading it I felt happy, excited, and motivated; after reading it it was 3 a.m. and I wanted to go to the library to email Noah so I went outside and it was snowing and I got to the train and I sat in the train for thirty-minutes and it did not move so I went back to my room and went to sleep.
Tao Lin, Reader of Depressing Books

Some novelists gently chisel their thoughts and ideas into refined, disciplined works of art, taking care to respect tradition and leave nary a flake of rock where unneeded. By contrast, ulcerous Ohioan Noah Cicero uses the language like a baseball bat, pounding his mind and soul and channeling his rage and suffering through the simplest form imaginable, a style he calls "existential minimalism." ...Fans of Beckett and Bukowski are hereby placed on notice.
--Emerson Dameron, Zine World

One of the reasons I think you'll like the The Human War is because it feels like a real, honest to goodness, living, breathing person wrote it, someone with fears, doubts, and a tiny bank account like the rest of us.
--That Girl Who Writes Stuff

This is a good book. I've said before that Cicero reminds me, at his best, of Bukowski. The Human War, published by the fine Fugue State Press of New York City, is plain speaking poetry....The book consists of the stubby, single-sentence thoughts of an Ohio slacker contemplating the world. The war in Iraq is a major theme, but most of the verses present the poet simply staring in amazement at the people around him.--Litkicks

The Human War is an odd, simple book with a powerfully simple message: that war, all war, is wrong. And although it is simple and odd in its idiosyncratic tone it is also right in every conceivable way. Noah Cicero's little book, for this reason alone, is clear and free of pretension.
--Ready Steady Book

This alarmingly well written book is a new voice that has rankled more than enough people back home in America. This vitriolic stance against Bush, God and War is just the book we should be reading in today's climate.

"Essential reading...If you can't relate to The Human War, it's likely you're not human." --BJ Lisko, Pulse

"Quite unique in its forthrightness." --The Absinthe Literary Review

Included here are two short stories and a very funny, very bleak novella, "The Human War," about the first hours of the 2003 war in Iraq as experienced by a screwed-up kid in Ohio who feels the world is spinning out of his control. His reaction to the coming war? He drinks, has sex, goes to a strip club, he does anything that Youngstown, Ohio offers as human distraction--but this only makes the horror deepen. Noah Cicero's deadpan humor is reminiscent of Beckett's, and "The Human War" is a blackly funny and deeply cruel look at the cold hearts of men.

Weirdly and outrageously uncompromising, "The Human War" is maybe not so much a piece of "antiwar fiction" as it is an attack on all of human reality. Celine would have liked it.

The novella is accompanied by two outstanding short stories, "The Doomed" and "Little Flowers," both dark, funny vignettes on the impossibility of human interaction: further examples of Noah Cicero?s wicked talent.

About the author: Noah Cicero lives in Ohio. His short stories have appeared in many magazines and webzines, including Reflections, The Surface, New Horizon, Brittle Star, Poindexter, AnotheRealm, Ygdrasil, Grundle Ink, Retort, Crimson Feet Connected, Jacob's Ladder, One Forty Two, Nth Position, Identity Theory, Newtopia, Subterranean Quarterly, Black Ice, and others. He also writes social commentary in collaboration with Oma Mullins. This is his first book.

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