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“Chapter 37: WarZone 2008” – excerpt from MENTAL SHRAPNEL, by Phillip O’Neil

“Chapter 37: WarZone 2008” – excerpt from MENTAL SHRAPNEL, by Phillip O’Neil

“Sinequanon threads of Gonzo journalism tie hot shards of Philip K. Dick’s paranoid fantasies to Kingsley Amis’ insouciant British humour in this 400-page pill, as we are flung between war-torn Sarajevo & post-communist Prague between the early 90s & the late 00s. A war correspondent come psychotherapist, Christopher Mahler, is sequestered into a theatrical vortex of alternating comedic & tragic skirmishes. In an attempt to uncover the true cause of his fugue states, Chris delves into the kind of analysis which promises to drag him & the reader screaming into an ignominious past of flak jackets fantastic journeys & love lost in unaccountable circumstances. Many a seemly character enters & exits this cathartic trip as our sardonic protagonist Randle McMurphies his way through a Dante’s Inferno of lost souls. With sensitive, lyrical wit O’Neil teases the most devastating (ir)realities into palatable, poetic medicine. Mental Shrapnel is the author’s nostalgic suicide letter to Prague, left on a mantle piece over the flaming fires of hell, propped up by a bowl of rotting oranges.”—Michael Rowland

“Equal parts memoir, war narrative, & love story, Mental Shrapnel takes you deep into the wounded psyche of a man forced to put himself back together when the health care “system” fails him completely. Reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Down Below, or Kleinzeit, Mental Shrapnel paints a darkly humorous portrait of a fractured mind in a damaged healthcare system. Replete with a cast of larger-than-life characters, patients, junkies, & war criminals, Mental Shrapnel probes the darkest recesses of the human psyche in this story of a dizzying freefall into madness and a painful climb back to sanity – an intense vertiginous journey that will leave readers in doubt of their own sanity as much as Chris’s. Mental Shrapnel also paints an intimate nuanced picture of the city of Prague that will be instantly recognizable to longtime residents or serve as a psychedelic walking tour for those who have never traversed the narrow, labyrinthine streets of the city. Not a novel for the faint of heart, but still a compelling read full of wit, heart, and history.”—Jeffrey Howe

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  • EQUUS PRESS was established in 2011 between Paris, London & Prague with the objective of publishing new writing that is innovative & conscious of being doubly marginalised: outside the literary establishment defined by the Anglo-American publishing industry, & outside the confines of nationalism, pursuing a broadly cosmopolitan “agenda.” // EQUUS believes that such a doubly marginalised position allows for a writing both idiosyncratic & authoritative in its distance from which it can take a stand, make a change, & matter; an ability increasingly rare in titles conforming to the dictates of the book market & tastes of mass readership. // EQUUS considers its mission to offer the possibility of publication to writers & writing that matters, focusing mainly, though not exclusively, on Anglophone writing written outside of its native emplacement.
"Modernity today is not in the hands of the poets, but in the hands of the cops" // Louis Aragon
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" // A.N. Whitehead

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"Poetism is the crown of life; Constructivism is its basis" // Karel Teige


“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?…we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us” // Franz Kafka, letter to Oskar Pollack, 27 January 1904
November 2020