Praise for Seventeen Television
“Maurer sculpts very rich characters and depicts absurd situations in hysterical terms. An extremely clever and sincere writer.”
– MaximumRocknRoll (Issue #358, March 2013).
“Justin Maurer’s stories are filled with humor, horror and human insight. A strong new voice.”
- Dan Fante,author of Chump Change, Mooch, Short Dog, and Spitting Off Tall Buildings
“Seventeen Television is full of clean and pure sentences written by an unclean and impure man. You can laugh and feel joy reading these stories. Go ahead. It’s okay.”
– Scott McClanahan, author of Stories V, Hill William and Crapalachia
“Justin Maurer’s Seventeen Television is filled with profound and high-octane moments written with a heart-on-his-sleeve sincerity. These character-driven stories are overflowing with wonderful slice-of-life moments and memorable dialogue.”
- Chloe Caldwell, author of Legs Get Led Astray
Praise for Don’t Take Your Life
“Justin Maurer has a real gift for storytelling…an expertly conversational feel.”
- The Portland Mercury
“Stuff like Justin’s turning up once every few blue moons is like a little reassuring pat on the back that says there are actually people out there who can still write great short fiction. Except that these little vignettes might be true stories. We’re not sure. It’s nicer not knowing. Justin: Please don’t ever tell us the truth.”
– Vice Magazine UK
“Justin Maurer is as charmed as he is charming. Don’t Take Your Life is about walking into any worldwide situation without fear or guile. From being homeless in a van to getting drugged in a Turkish rug shop, you’re always rooting for Justin to come out on top”
- Todd Taylor, Author of Born to Rock and Shirley Wins
“Justin’s first book is just as power-packed as the first two Clorox Girls LPs. The book even seems to spin at 45 RPM. Like the music, his life is a ratty Gibson turned up all the way, pickups falling out, rusting strings, duct tape and all – but he keeps it all on track somehow. His cheerfully energetic life makes for great reading.”
- Kurt Bloch, Fastbacks, Sgt. Major
MaximumRocknRoll, (Issue #358, March 2013):
VICE MAGAZINE UK (Print and Web http://www.vice.com/read/literary-336-v15n11 )
DON’T TAKE YOUR LIFE – TRUE STORIES BY JUSTIN MAURER
Future Tense Books
Despite looking a little like a cross between Dennis Pennis and Krusty the Clown (seriously, check out his photo on the back cover), Justin used to be in stern-faced screamy hardcore band Clorox Girls and is actually really good at writing stuff. We constantly receive submissions by email that we wish were sent the old fashioned way so that we could use them to shore up the constant lack of paper in the toilet. But stuff like Justin’s turning up once every few blue moons is like a little reassuring pat on the back that says there are actually people out there who can still write great short fiction. Except that these little vignettes might be true stories. We’re not sure. It’s nicer not knowing. Justin: Please don’t ever tell us the truth.
(Print and Web: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=38156&category=22148 )
Don’t Take Your Life: True Stories by Justin Maurer
Review by Chas Bowie
Here’s the set of contradictions you’re going to have to swallow for this review: If someone handed me this chapbook, Don’t Take Your Life, and told me it was the new Philip Roth (or Alice Munro or whoever), I’d be like, “Holy shit. What happened? This is terrible.” But if I received the same book and was told the truth—that it was written by a guy here in Portland who’s years younger than me and sings in a quite decent SST-throwback punk band (the Clorox Girls), my response would be as follows:
Whoa—this book’s pretty fucking good! True, there are a few flat notes and sour spots, but for the most part, Justin Maurer has a real gift for storytelling—especially for writing dialogue and trimming away fluff to get to the core of his stories.
Told in autobiographical vignettes, DTYL opens with Maurer at age five in Arizona, beckoning a stray, “Commere doggie doggie.” Maurer’s dad screams and chases the dog away, telling his son, “That was a coyote and he was going to eat you.” Was he telling the truth, or just lying to whitewash his dickishness? How would Maurer know? He was only five years old.
One vignette after another propels us through Maurer’s life—from his childhood role as sign language interpreter for his deaf mother, to being drugged by a fat rug merchant in Istanbul, to living in a van behind a casino in Oakland, to falling in love with a girl whom he’s able to make you fall in love with, too.
Maurer hasn’t written a memoir, though. There’s no central arch, and the book doesn’t end with him getting a publishing deal. He’s interested in the stories that he’s accumulated along the way, and many of these bite-sized remembrances have an expertly conversational feel. The difference between telling a story about doing Michael Jackson impressions for Turkish youth and writing the same story is huge, though—and Maurer mostly pulls it off. A few sentences are real clunkers (but not many) and a little more editorial focus could have helped things out. But for the most part, this guy’s good, and will certainly continue to grow tighter and sharper. Not too bad for a young punk.