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Fishnet [Paperback]

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Item Number 254000  
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Item description for Fishnet by Paul A. Toth...

Maurice Melnick's imagination has forever painted an underwater world more exotic yet safer than the one above. Now he sees in wife Shelia's smile all the years he spent swimming away from her. He decides to fix that smile on canvas, stopping time but the painting only drives him deeper into his imagination.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 25, 2005
Publisher   Bleak House Books
ISBN  1932557091  
ISBN13  9781932557091  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul A. Toth

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Psychological & Suspense

Reviews - What do customers think about Fishnet?

TimeOut Chicago Review  Jul 13, 2008
Here's a review from TimeOut Chicago:


By Paul Toth.
Bleak House Books, $12.95.

Maurice and Sheila's marriage has gone to seed and neither of them knows what to do about it. Maurice is an overweight, combed-over clod who's rich off his dead father's money; Sheila is a passionless, rueful woman who has abandoned her youthful passions for a fetid spinsterism. Over the years, Maurice has withdrawn into an inner life that alienates Sheila, and we see him trying to pull back into reality--perhaps too late to save his marriage.

The plot outline of Toth's second novel is the same you've seen in countless made-for-TV movies and best-sellers for the middle-aged market. Thankfully, Toth is a talented writer interested in exploring stories you've already heard, in ways you've never expected. He's prone to detaching a familiar story from its moorings and pushing it out to sea, watching it float into murkier waters.

Fishnet is no exception. The book takes forays into Maurice's watery imagination, where he suffers visits from a hectoring apparition who may be his dead father. He also pictures himself as almost some sort of merman, swimming away from his worldly obligations. Maurice begins painting a portrait of Sheila, trying to capture her smiling face before she becomes so depressed she never grins again. The painting replaces any verbal bickering, as Sheila makes changes to the artwork behind Maurice's back, leaving him and the reader to puzzle out the meaning. Meanwhile, their hometown of Mercy goes bankrupt, and Maurice embarks on a foolhardy fireworks show because he thinks it will make Sheila happy.

Maurice and Sheila still love each other, or at least they have convinced themselves of that, but the true enemy of their relationship is time: Maurice is obsessed with trying to stop it, and Sheila is committed to lamenting its passing. It's astounding how much pathos Toth packs into this strange, short novel. While the reader is busy contemplating the meaning of Mercy's decline and Maurice's imaginings, Toth slips in devastating sentences, the kind you hope to never hear about your own relationship.
Challenge your reality!  Feb 4, 2006
Toth is an exceptional storyteller. FISHNET is a fast-paced read, a true page turner. His characterization and dialogue fit nicely into an ever-impressive novel involving art, madness, and the occasional drunken flashback. This is one novel I've referred to at least fifteen readers. By next month it should be thirty.
Another absurdist must-read by Paul Toth, the online Orson Welles  Aug 16, 2005
Paul Toth's second novel, Fishnet, is possessed by the same absurdist humor, quirky incisive vision, and cartoon realism of TV hits Curb Your Enthusiasms and Arrested Development.

Set in the sardonically named fictional California town of Mercy, the characters in Fishnet are on personal quests of the most un-Tony-Robbins sort. Eccentric artist/millionaire Maurice Melnick seeks to re-imagine his wife, Sheila, by painting her portrait. But nothing about Maurice is uncomplicated, and Sheila is an unwilling muse. Each are visited by ghosts of their former selves who do more to cast light on the present, than recapture the past.

Toth's writing is impeccable throughout, particularly when he describes Jonah, Maurice's alter ego, for the first time: "The figure was tall and white, all stretched bone and kite paper skin. It -- he -- wore a mask carved with the feminine face of a monk born to a geisha, the mouth curled in a smile but not a laugh, eyes crinkled with sympathy."

It's soon clear that Maurice's marriage to Sheila is in trouble. Before long, the reader finds that the town of Mercy is also in danger. The mortality of the first seems inextricably tied to the second. The answers to both problems lie in the most improbable of places -- in the hands of an ex-cop-turned-fireworks-technician whose marginally safe/legal displays are intended as bouquets of flowers in the night sky for his dead wife.

As the town leaders -- the mayor, fire chief, and police captain -- crash headlong into their own human frailty, it falls to Maurice to use his inherited wealth to resuscitate Mercy. The answer to the town's economic problems is found in a Fourth of July fireworks display meant to attract third-rate celebrities and the trailer-towing citizenry who worship them.

In true absurdist fashion, however, Paul Toth weaves a story rife with good intentions, criminal acts of stupidity, gallantry, debauchery, and dazzling, memorable lines, such as this one spoken by aging, cocaine-addled jazz musician Larry J. Phipps: "... by the time I'm done proving I'm a star, I'll be stardust."

Fishnet is a highly entertaining, innovative read that no true fan of quality fiction should miss.

-- Matthew St. Amand author of As My Sparks Fly Upward & Other Stories
A surreal tale of the ending of a marriage and the beginning of a life...  Jul 14, 2005
Paul Toth's FISHNET is a heartbreakingly honest book about one man's failure to live up to the dream self he, his wife, and his town, have created for him and his wife's failure to live up to her own potential. They are ghosts who haunt one another's lives. But on the eve of disaster for the small town they live in, their own lives and marriage crumbling beneath them, this husband and wife have a chance to save themselves, and their marriage, if they can build a bridge across the great ocean that has grown up between them.
A novel of magic and heartache, Mr. Toth creates characters you feel, a story you see, and a world you believe. At once tragic and redemptive, this is a tale of love in all its beautiful ugliness, and the people who worship at its altar.
A fantastic read with characters who really speak to you from a place of honesty, I highly recommend this book.

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