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There is No End to This Slope by Richard Fulco

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“Richard Fulco’s THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE is a brave novel. Fulco’s first-person protagonist, John Lenza, born Gianni, is an exposed nerve, a raw reminder of the fears, frustrations, and neuroses from which we all suffer at times when confronting our deepest truths.  Truths, it must be said, that Fulco accesses with brutal honesty. With a deft touch, he explores themes of love, loss, self-recrimination, high theatre, rock & roll, mental exhaustion, and finally, personal détente. Any writer willing to avail his characters to such scrutiny, for all their strengths and weaknesses, is deserving of praise.”
—Peter Melman, author of Landsman

“Groucho Marx is famous for saying he wouldn’t belong to a club that would have him for a member. John Lenza, the hero of Fulco’s exhilarating novel, ups the ante and wouldn’t belong to any club no matter who they accept. With dialogue as crisp as a caramel apple, imagery of an-ever evolving Brooklyn, and terrific references to theatre, literature, and rock ‘n’ roll, THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE craftily whips together elements of romantic comedy with the parts of life that aren’t so easily fixed. THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE goes to show that not all endings bring a new beginning.”
—Richard Melo, author of Happy Talk and Jokerman 8


He writes letters to a dead girl—John Lenza, an aspiring writer from Brooklyn, New York, hasn’t written a novel, a play, or any other potentially publishable project.  His obsession with his part in the death of his best friend Stephanie in high school, is a metaphorical brick wall—blocking him from a fulfilling life.  Lenza’s struggles to reconcile his guilt from the past and to enjoy the present sets the tone for Brooklyn native and playwright Richard Fulco’s emotionally charged debut THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE (Wampus Multimedia; March 18, 2014; $XX).

By day, John Lenza sells textbooks to New York City schools.  Like a 21st century Willy Loman, Lenza drifts, letting things happen to him rather than figuring out what he really wants from his work-life and his relationships.  At Cobble Hill High School he meets his future wife Emma Rue, an impulsive alcoholic.  At a “writerly” coffee shop near his new digs in Park Slope he meets Teeny, an overweight gay man, who mines Lenza’s life for his own material.  Richard, a homeless man becomes a voice of reason and a roommate, while Pete the landlord worries mostly about whether Lenza is truly taking special care of those beautiful wood floors in the apartment and, when Lenza loses his job, if the rent will be paid.

At one point in THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE John Lenza describes himself as intelligent, perhaps too intelligent to do anything.  For him and many of the characters in Fulco’s novel it is hard to find a way to navigate the day-to-day while nurturing a sensitive and creative spirit.  Does John Lenza deserve to be tortured by something that happened so many years ago?  Or is the event really a safety net that he allows to prevent him from finding out what his true creative potential might be?

Through deeply wrought characters and scenes that mirror the angst everyone faces as life happens and years pass, Fulco touches on a fundamental issue that drives great artists to self-destruct.  Ironically when Lenza has wrung all he can out of his pained self, it may be the mundane day-to-day that ultimately saves him.

Richard Fulco received an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. His plays have either been presented or developed at The New York International Fringe Festival, The Playwrights’ Center, The Flea, Here Arts Center, Chicago Dramatists and the Dramatists Guild. His stories and reviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Failbetter, Front Porch, Bound Off, The Rusty Toque, Full of Crow, Nth Position, and the Daily Vault. He is the founder of the online music magazine Riffraf. There Is No End to This Slope is his first novel.