Peter Markus: The Singing Fish

These interwoven tales that make up THE SINGING FISH  are not told, but spun from a primal, almost child-like, source of mythic language—sublimated from the fundamental building blocks of mud, brother, river, girl, moon, fish and a rusted nail.


"Peter Markus' gorgeously spare, riverine fables of brotherly sweetness and violence are hypnotic, haunting, and sublime."
—GARY LUTZ, author of Stories in the Worst Way and I Looked Alive


"There is an obsessive quality about Peter Markus' writing that I am obsessed with and a musicality that I cannot get out of my head. The fish are singing and Peter Markus is too."
—MICHAEL KIMBALL, author of The Way the Family Got Away and How Much of Us There Was


"It is a rare occurrence when a fiction writer can be lauded as a true artist; it is even rarer when such a writer can work his magic in so few pages."  —Adam Williams in PopMatters


The Singing Fish 

by Peter Markus

ISBN 0-9746053-8-7

© 2005, 88 pages, perfect bound


or get it from Asterism

or get dbook (PDF) for $5:

"Very little occurs in a Peter Markus story that does not involve a fish, mud, a brother, and, usually, a concluding act of brutality. Markus's language is primal, even primitive, but his sentence structure is among the most perplexing and, ultimately, fascinating I have ever encountered. Markus serves up sentence after sentence of startling musicality. These aren't stories in any traditional sense; they are works of a prose stylist with the ear of a poet." —Peter Conners, from review of The Singing Fish in American Book Review


"From the author of Good, Brother comes The Singing Fish, a fantastic and original book by a fiction writer, teacher and Metro Times freelancer who sees the world exceptionally. These stories of "brother" and "girl" will kick your brain in high gear as you try to figure out how he does it. It's one of the most inventive pieces of fiction written anywhere in America of late."
Detroit Metro Times


"They enact over and over a story of death and rebirth, of killing fish, their father and each other, and nailing everything they admire the most to the telephone pole in the back yard."
Dawn McDuffie in Ludington Visiting Writers 

"The Singing Fish demonstrates Peter Markus’ ability to cut away a familiar landscape and shape into its place a perfect language. Using words that are character of their sound such as “moon,” “mud,” “river,” and “fish,” Markus forsakes the limits of designation and uses reiteration and persistence as catalysts for a rhythmic language that feels like impeccable mantra."

—Andrew Richmond in Verse

"Markus has given violence a kind of lyrical energy that feeds on its ability to shock—and the images in this book have marvelously potent staying power as a result. At first glance, The Singing Fish looks intellectual, a kind of "artifice-as-art" postmodernism that distances the reader while engaging with the high-minded sensibilities of the aesthetic avant-garde. But Markus is up to something far more valuable and far more complicated. The Singing Fish is a throwback in the best sense of the word, a book in which symbolic energy and creative force are valued over the empty form and practiced ironic distance that has characterized so much avant-garde work over the past decade. Markus' book is violent, disturbing and at times off-putting. But it is also lovely and compelling, and reminds us that language, like mud, can both create life and sustain it."
— Gunnar Benediktsson in DIAGRAM

"In The Singing Fish, Peter Markus does the near-impossible thing: he makes a unique fictional world which carries the stamp of his sensibility and no other, contains pleasing verbal ingenuity, resists most conventional narrative maneuvers, and engages aspects of the reader’s sense of the deep essentials of life. In other words, this book is a work of art." —Another Chicago Magazine

"Peter Markus has written an epithalamium to mud, river, fish, moon, and childhood. . . . Peter Markus has written a novel of amazement and beauty." Norman Lock in elimae


Peter Markus reading "What the River Told Us To Do" and "Boy" from The Singing Fish:


Fictions from The Singing Fish have appeared in Failbetter, Quarterly West, the Fiction Gallery anthology (Bloomsbury USA), Avatar Review, Sleepingfish, Double Room, Hobart and 5_Trope.