Survive the Dog Days of Summer with Serial Fiction from Joe Meno

Dear Electric Literature Members,

It’s mid-August, officially the dog days of summer. Which means it’s time to break out my favorite quote from Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers:

“And the season of the dog days is like this: it is the time at the end of the summer when as a rule nothing can happen — but if a change does come about, that change remains until the dog days are over. Things that are done are not undone and a mistake once made is not corrected.”

In the heat of the final days of summer, time and temperature are like molasses. But with stagnation comes anticipation; pay attention and you can almost feel the crisp air of change riding on the back of a warm summer breeze.

To help pass the dog days, we have a special treat for our readers. On Wednesday, we published the first episode of “Star Witness,” a story in seven parts by Joe Meno, the author of seven novels, including the bestselling The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned. New episodes will be published every Friday over the next six weeks. The second episode was published today.

As a gift to our members, we have recorded an exclusive audio version of the story, which will be released contemporaneously with each episode. You can find the first two episodes here.

“I wanted to write something that unfolded over the course of a single night,” Meno said. “The story itself is inspired by the collision of dark Midwestern classics like Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Carson McCullers’s Member of the Wedding, and also Jim Thompson and Raymond Chandler.”

Over the seven episodes, a young woman named Shelley searches for a local girl who has gone missing. Her search leads to discover both the under-appreciated virtues and sinister vices of her small town’s residents. With original illustrations by Alix Pentecost Farren, “Star Witness” combines the tension of Stranger Things with the visual and narrative beauty of a classic illustrated adventure like Alice in Wonderland. The result is an adult storybook for the internet age.

Happy reading, and happy listening!

Halimah Marcus

Executive Director, Electric Literature

Episode 1: The Girl Goes Missing

Episode 2: Shelley Enters the Woods

Survive the Dog Days of Summer with Serial Fiction from Joe Meno

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