There’s a disturbing secret in the basement of a strip mall yogurt parlor. Jonathan, the mostly clueless clerk who works there, just wants to fix things once and for all, but beginning with an encounter at an animal shelter that leaves three dead, things don’t work out quite the way Jonathan intends . . . or do they? Beneath its picaresque surface, Girl Factory raises unsettling questions about storytelling, the nature of freedom, and the ubiquitous objectification of women.
Jim Krusoe has written five books of poems, a book of stories, Blood Lake, and a novel, Iceland, published by Dalkey Archive Press. His stories and poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Bomb, Denver Quarterly, the Iowa Review, Field, North American Review, American Poetry Review, and the Santa Monica Review, which he began in 1988. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Washington Post, and Manoa. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest fund. He teaches at Santa Monica College and in the graduate writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Iceland was selected by the Los Angeles Times and the Austin Chronicle as one of the ten best fiction books of 2002, and was on the Washington Post list of notable fiction for the same year. A collection of his stories, Abductions, which will be illustrated by Dani Tull, is scheduled for publication in September 2007.
"Girl Factory is a humorous, genre-jumping, carnival-ride of a novel. It's smart, weird, unsettling, and downright fun to read. It's no wonder Jim Krusoe is one of Southern California's most notoriously daring literary icons."
Mark Jude Poirier
"Jim Krusoe is one of America's most sincere satirists, a treasured literary oddball. No one interweaves the comic, the absurd, the outrageous, and the mundane or plays them off each other the way he does. It's been said that a truly unique literary production proposes its own genre. Surely that's true of Girl Factory, which twists tropes from Frankenstein, Bluebeard, contemporary headlines, old movies, the biology of extinction, the self-help movement, conspiracy theory, and more into a highly readable, unpredictable postmodern novella that always privileges unadulterated imagination. Amy Gerstler, author of Ghost Girl
"In the basement of a Southern California yogurt shop one hot summer night, Jonathan, a down-on-his-luck-fro-yo-slinger, discovers several young, beautiful naked women encased in glass and suspended lifelessly in a milky mixture. Jonathan's boss, Spinner, catches him nosing around and reveals his experiment: acidophilus, yogurt's active culture, has the uncanny ability to preserve and nourish life, he explains, and the women bobbing before Jonathan's wide eyes are making 'an investment in their future.' When foul play suddenly makes the women Jonathan's wards, he has to see if he has the right stuff to care for themand perhaps free them. Poet Krusoe's fiction debut is as whimsical as multicolored sprinkles and as sweet as dollop of Pinkberry."
"He is never heavy-handedhis writing is too unpretentious, his characters too wonderfully peculiar... And this makes Girl Factory the best kind of novela wildly imagined tale with its own rules."
Lauren Sanders, Bookforum
"Only Jim Krusoe would find true pathos in yogurt. This book is not just funny-- it's eerie, and vivid, and strangely sad, too. His work is full of the most curious urgency: I love to keep reading, and I don't know what I'm waiting for, exactly, but I know whatever I find will hover in my peripheral vision for awhile after I'm done, and that's exactly what happened here."
Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
"LA author Jim Krusoe's second novel, Girl Factory, begins with the planned execution of a preternaturally intelligent rottweiler--"Dog Too Smart for Own Good," the newspaper headline reads--and ends with an aborted prison break. This, then, is a love story, albeit one involving a most curious basement and vats of life-sustaining goo (the goo, which recalls the nutrient-rich fluids of Krusoe's equally delicious first novel, Iceland, keeps the girls of the book's title in a state of suspended animation. The book is creepy and comic; it's hero, a frozen yogurt shop manager, is fecklessness personified."
Los Angeles Magazine
"The way that Krusoe takes his time with description, trailing along a passage as casually as Jonathan examines a victim, gives the work a surreal feeling in the midst of familiarity. Like a hallway with off-color light, the words seem like they possess much more than what’s being conveyed..."
Elizabeth Millard, ForeWord Magazine
"But in the end, what I appreciate most about Krusoe is his quiet sincerity, his voice that puts its arm around your shoulder, embracing the many possibilities of the world while also acting as an intervention against its ugliness."
Robert Silva, The Quarterly Conversation
"Jim Krusoe pulls of a balancing act between science fiction and subjectivity in this playful, funny novel."
Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"In his delightful second novel, Girl Factory, Jim Krusoe manages to take lowly yogurt to new heights of repugnance...As with the best kind of horror story, Girl Factory occurs in a seemingly ordinary setting, and it's precisely the clash of the mundane with the horrific that the makes the narrative so absorbing."
Julia Scheeres, New York Times Book Review
"By the end of Girl Factory, it's obvious that Krusoe is a keen satirist who knows exactly what he's doing... Everything he writes about seems fresh and enthralling and new, but somewhat off. It's an experience akin to seeing the most beautiful face you can imagine, but the eyes are out of alignment by a fraction of an inch. Girl Factory is frightening and fascinating, and even though the conclusion doesn't tie up every loose end, it's a complete and satisfying book, a weird signal from another world that catches your attention and then is gone."
Paul Constant, The Stranger
"In a weirdly charmingif darkway, Krusoe manages to keep the reader teetering between disbelief and empathy. The novel is unexpectedly a page-turner. We gladly accompany Jonathon in his quest for recognition and redemption, keeping our fingers crossed that he will prevail."
Virginia Allen, The Bloomsbury Review
"In Girl Factory, Jim Krusoe has served up a shaggy dog tale of the highest quality. It’s impressive that a novel with so much to offer is as tightly constructed as it is, and it’s refreshing to come across prose this free-wheeling and fun. And though you can easily spot Krusoe’s precursorsSterne, Kafka, Barthelme, Lynchpresiding over this book as its surrealistic and humorous godfathers, Girl Factory still manages to remain a work that’s wholly Krusoe’s own: hilarious, oddly touching, and dizzily readable."Michael Jauchen, Rain Taxi
"What ensues is a comic and moral kind of nightmare; a dark, funny, formal inquiry into suspension of disbelief as the common ground of storytelling and self-justification."The Believer