Mammother by Zachary Schomburg & Dracula by Nurses

While reading Zachary Schomburg’s debut novel, Mammother and listening to album Dracula from Nurses on the Blue Line, a group of French-speaking nuns in gray habits sat around me just as I was reading about Pie Time’s neighboring town, Nun’s Hat. If this doesn’t make complete sense, that’s okay. It doesn’t need to be clear for something to be beautiful. The general feeling of this moment was both grounded and ethereal.

81OHWyAEjOL.jpg

In Mammother, the people of Pie Time are suffering from God’s Finger, a mysterious plague that leaves its victims dead with a big hole through their chests, and in each hole is a random consumer product. Mano Medium is a sensitive, young cigarette-factory worker in love, and he does his part by quitting the factory to work double-time as Pie Time’s replacement barber and butcher, and by holding the things found in the holes of the newly dead. However, the more people die, the bigger Mano becomes.

With a large cast of unusual characters, each struggling with their own complex and tangled relationships to death, money, and love, Mammother is a fabulist's tale of how we hold on and how we let go in a rapidly growing world.

When creating Dracula, Nurses were completely immersed in the recording process, the three members of the band (Aaron Chapman, James Mitchell, John Bowers) deep in collaboration. They did not embrace typical roles - no guitarist, no keyboardist - instead collaborating as a trio of producers, adding one idea on top of another until the sounds became songs. This isolation, the early winter darkness, the misty, moody walks on rocky beaches all creep into Dracula.

The band avoided society and focused on making the record, and managing to shut out most outside influences. Except for Prince. The band embraces hooks and melodies - yes, they turn them upside down and inside out--but at their core, the band (and Dracula) are defined by pop songwriting.

Want strange, but tender? Want to be bemused, but aware? Want to have an experience that made Kirkus reviews say “What the hell did I just read?” You probably do, which is why you’ll want to check out these works.

Mammother is officially released on 09/23, but you can get it at Curbside Books & Records and through Featherproof.