Sun Eye Moon Eye

Vincent Czyz


ISBN 978-1-959556-83-1       588 pages        $25.00

Excerpt in Litro Mag


Excerpt in Taint Taint Taint

"Ghost Dancer"

Czyz has some superb writers in his corner, including Jayne Anne Phillips, who, based on the first chapter of Sun Eye Moon Eye, chose him for the Truman Capote Fellowship at Rutgers University, Samuel R. Delany, who wrote the preface to his first book, Adrift in a Vanishing City, John Keene, McArthur fellow and winner of the National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, who called Czyz’s narrative voice “compelling and unique." While Czyz has already built up a worthy body of work, Sun Eye Moon Eye, a novel of shifting narrative voices and techniques, is his most ambitious, most accomplished book to date.


Sun Eye Moon Eye centers around Logan Blackfeather, a musician of mixed Hopi descent, whose faulty sense of direction sends him spiraling through the mid-’80s. The novel opens with Logan crossing a stretch of Arizona desert, his thumb out for a ride and most of what he owns in a bag slung over a shoulder. By this time he has suffered a breakdown and given up music. A knife fight in the parking lot of a roadside bar ends in the death of a trucker, and in short order Logan finds himself in a psychiatric hospital in New York. He makes his way to Manhattan, where he’s as bewildered by the fluorescent-colored spikes of punks as he is by the upturned collars of yuppies. A job as a piano man in a Village bar eases him back into music, and he falls into a turbulent relationship with a successful ad executive. Haunted by a dead father who comes to him in dreams, by the killing of the trucker, and memories of his violent uncle/stepfather, Logan is caught between tradition and modernity, the rural and the urban, his Anglo and Native American ancestries. Myth and dream play key roles in reconstructing Logan’s worldview, and he begins to suspect that empirical reality is as open to interpretation as the dream world.



“There are people who can write ripping yarns. And there are people who can write fine, risk-taking prose. Not that many can do both … Vincent Czyz pulls off that daring double-feat with style and verve.”

   —Peter Blauner, author of Slow Motion Riot and Sunrise Highway


“Czyz is more than a bit mystical; indeed, he searches for rapture … What he’s really after, however, is to find mystery within mystery, to have experiences he cannot live without yet cannot pin down.”

   —Paul West, author of The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests


“The Christos Mosaic is the most fun I’ve had with an encyclopedic novel since Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum―and a lot more headlong, colorful, and seat-of-the pants exciting. It careens through Istanbul, Cairo, and Alexandria in pursuit of answers to a historical mystery that turns on the unraveling of a theological conspiracy that is deeply meaningful for us today.”

   —Samuel R. Delany, author of Dhalgren


“Deeply romantic (in the best sense) and darkly evocative, Czyz’s lush style explores regions well beyond simple narrative, probing the constantly shifting, oblique connections between failure, memory and the forever-incomplete nature of human desire. A moody, gorgeous and formally innovative collection, Adrift in a Vanishing City deserves a wide audience among readers who understand that fiction is about more than getting a character from one room to the next.”

   —Greg Burkman, The Seattle Times


“The writing, more like poetry than prose, calls attention to language, to the fullness of a word, a sentence, with the purpose of expressing inexpressible emotions and experiences. Vincent Czyz’s Adrift in a Vanishing City is … lyrical and pensive, an odd and often beautiful portrait of longing.”

   —Capper Nichols, Minnesota Daily


“These love stories … don’t seek to deconstruct the notion of love to some cold, plastic irony, but re-assert love as something that both infuses and transcends the finite logics of literature. For even as these stories sprawl they vanish, even as they roam and carve, as plotlines wheel off on their own orbits, so too do they come clawing back together.”

   —Nate Liederbach, Logos Journal


“A brilliant, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing novel from beginning to end, The Christos Mosaic by Vincent Czyz is one of those truly extraordinary stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections.”

   —Midwest Book Review


 “Vincent Czyz’s The Christos Mosaic is unique: it somehow manages to include genuine, radical biblical scholarship in a beautifully rendered adventure full of unforgettable characters, set in exotic locales vividly and poetically described. There are very many “Lost Gospel” novels in which the biblical background is fudged, and badly. Not this one! Both sides of this author's fertile brain were working full tilt! And the result is superb.”

   —Robert M. Price, author of Deconstructing Jesus


“Vincent Czyz takes on some giants, including plot, Ikea, Ben Lerner, and A.S. Byatt. In the end, however, he’s less a fighter than a shrewd observer—even an enthusiastic and loyal fan. He champions and celebrates John Berger, Guy Davenport, William Gass, Marilynne Robinson, mom-and-pop businesses, and collage. Even his difficult father and Lucifer get treated fairly. He’s a terrific writer, and no matter where he stands, or where you stand, you will want to hear what he has to say.”

   —James Goodman author of Stories of Scottsboro, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and But Where Is the Lamb


“I love this book. Czyz covers so much terrain; every sentence seems to contain its own universe. So many universes, and they all get along. And the undergirding, the intellectual and emotional depth, the lifetime of learning and experience, make it indestructible. It simply cannot not work. Czyz proves, beginning with his opening essay that poetry and prose not only can co-exist, but that they MUST. The book goes on to prove this in every way. All is exactly as it needs to be in The Secret Adventures of Order—and then some.”

   —Rob Cook, author of Last Window in the Punk Hotel


“Vincent Czyz, an acclaimed fiction writer, utilizes his ample critical toolkit to reveal the secret heart of books and authors he admires (and some with whom he takes issue), while also demonstrating his skills as an essayist and secular theologian. Even when I disagree with him I salute his acumen, his focus, and his deep engagement.”

   —John Keene, MacArthur fellow and author of Counternarratives





Vincent Czyz is the author of The Secret Adventures of Order, an essay collection, The Three Veils of Ibn Oraybi, a novella, Adrift in a Vanishing City, a fiction collection that received the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for Best in Small Press, and The Christos Mosaic, a novel. He is the recipient of two fiction fellowships from the NJ Council on the Arts and the W. Faulkner-W. Wisdom Prize for Short Fiction. The 2011 Truman Capote Fellow at Rutgers University, his stories have appeared in Shenandoah, AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, Tin House, Tampa Review, Georgetown Review, Copper Nickel, December, Southern Indiana Review, and Skidrow Penthouse, among other publications. He spent a total of nearly a decade in Istanbul, Turkey before settling in Jersey City, NJ, USA.