An Improvisational Fiction
A Novel by Phong Nguyen
6 × 9, 232 pages
978-0-913785-41-6 (paper)
Missouri Author Series
December 2019


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Ovid Dullann works as an assistant accountant for a multinational corporation and is supporting a family of four; abruptly, on his forty-ninth birthday, Ovid runs away from his daily work and his loving family to go on a road trip. Struck by inspiration, Ovid knows that an Author is writing about him, and will do anything to avoid acting as a protagonist of a book. However, this Author will not abandon his pursuit, and vows to punish Ovid, his wayward protagonist.

Phong Nguyen is the author of two novels, Roundabout and The Adventures of Joe Harper (winner of the Prairie Heritage Book Award), and two story collections, Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History and Memory Sickness (winner of the Elixir Press Fiction Award). He is the editor, with Dan Chaon and Norah Lind, of Nancy Hale: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master. His own stories have appeared in more than fifty national literary journals, including Agni, Boulevard, The Iowa Review, and North American Review. He is the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

“Brilliant, audacious, and irreverent, Roundabout is a slapstick meta-romp through art, literature, metaphysics, and modern America—all without a single e! Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ouilipian jury, I present Phong Nguyen as our next American representative.”
—Alexander Weinstein, author of Children of the New World

“Our author draws you into a diabolical conspiracy—a ‘plot’ of sorts, to kill a quixotic fabulist known as Ovid (a fool who must go on a road trip, avoiding his doom by hiding from such a call for his assassination). I might point out, in passing, that Ovid is an anagram for a Void (a kind of hollow, full of missing, ghostly allusions that haunt this story throughout). Our author has, alas, shown his authorial tradition no sympathy, choosing to draft a book that abandons a common symbol, a minor glyph, which most narrators find crucial in any production of a drama. You can always try your hand at such a task in a roundabout way, but why not scan this book first so as to fathom how a virtuoso might do it with whimsy.”
—Christian Bok, author of Eunoia

“In Roundabout, words drift and bob and flow so smoothly that what’s missing isn’t known. In fact, its omission is the vigor that thrusts it on, its limitation its gift to us all. By plucking a symbol away, playfulness is put on full display, giving us a magical and wondrous work. Book buyers watch out: amazing things await.”
—BJ Hollars, author of Sightings

Distributed for Moon City Press.