Featured Work

Monica's Chronicle
Monica’s Chronicle, endless sketchbook drawn directly from life yet a model of another idea of fiction and the source of much of Ascher/​Straus’s work (most obviously ABC Street and Hank Forest’s Party), can be read here in installments as it’s being edited.




OR DIRECTLY FROM GREEN INTEGER (www.greeninteger.com).

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ASCHER/​STRAUS=Sheila Ascher & Dennis Straus. We don’t write together in the literal sense, but do in every other sense. We edit each other’s writing (allow no other editing) and we publish jointly without saying who initiated what. To distinguish "who wrote what" is to bow to someone else’s idea of authorship, no more acceptable than bowing to a narrow idea of what fiction can be.

We’ve pursued an unusual degree of personal invisibility and there would be no web site if we thought that would end here (we hope to hide here in plain sight). One way or another what matters in our biographies is in our work: by chronicling what’s not in the mirror but is the life we live or by finding narrative codes for the self.

A long, invisible history of creating narrative outside traditional boundaries (of form, of publication, even of binding) is present in the four novels (Hank Forest's Party, ABC Street, The Menaced Assassin, The Other Planet) and the volume of related stories (Red Moon/​Red Lake) that are traditionally published. (There is an entire history of publication, documented event/​performance and so on attached to our earlier work).

In the late 70’s/​early 80’s, largely in an art context, we created a series of novels we called SPACE NOVELS that used a variety of public spaces (from galleries to air fields) as bindings or structuring principles. (Funding came from Poets & Writers, the National Parks Service, the American Crafts Council and so on.) Our idea was to create a new kind of un-bound novel, transparent and porous between writer and reader.

Our early thinking about fiction, and art in general, particularly about its position between writer and reader and the ways in which the life of writer and reader (down to the ambient, intrusive event while reading or writing) can or cannot be included or suggested, has mutated over the years but never left us entirely. (ABC Street and Hank Forest's Party are its direct descendants.) That thinking and our love of the kind of philosophical narrative not thought to be "American" has probably driven us out of the mainstream. (We have a talent for making decisions that place us on the outside of any given inside, even ones that would seem to be in tune with us.)

P.O. Box 176
Rockaway Park, NY 11694


The entire contents of this site are copyrighted by the authors, Ascher/​Straus (Sheila Ascher and Dennis Straus) and may not by copied or reproduced in any part without their permission.


For a review of Hank Forest’s Party that also gives an intelligent overview of its place in our writing history see Mary Burger's review in Your Impossible Voice, April 25, 2014.

For an alternative overview of our writing history read Stephen Beachy’s article ”ESCAPE FROM THE PRESENT” in the March '05 San Francisco Bay Guardian Literary Supplement, “WHERE DOES FICTION COME FROM” (Feb. 23 — March 1, 2005. Volume 39, No. 21).

To read Douglas Messerli’s essay, “On the Other Side of the Page (on Ascher/​Straus’s ABC Street)”, see his blog for December 10, 2008 (http:/​/​greeninteger.blogspot.com).


Because MONICA’S CHRONICLE is now being published on the website we’ve scanned an earlier view of that project, “WRITING WITH SHEILA ASCHER”, which was published in Zone #7 Spring/​Summer ’81 as an introduction to the section of "SHEILA ASCHER’S CHRONICLE/​SEPTEMBER 1976" that served as the text for the Space Novel “12 SIMULTANEOUS SUNDAYS”.

Selected Works

Companion volume to ABC Street, chronicling the events and characters of ABC Street as they amble by, circling around and through Hank Forest’s party, while finding ways to suggest the warp of time.
The boundary between novel and journal: the passing world chronicled as fiction.

"ABC Street sends out ripples that change our reading of the other Ascher/Straus books, blurring lines of memory and realism and imagination. . . ."

-- Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

". . . characters – Celeste, the Dane or the Swede, the taxi driver, one or several men named Antonio – are . . . obsessed with the future and with the unlimited sense of possibility that only gets horribly reduced anytime a decision is made, meaning created."

-- Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"...the best kind of experimental fiction--innovative and entertaining."
--Caryn James, The Village Voice

". . . dialogue at once so real and so unreal that it seems like the way people might talk in dreams. The way people would talk if they were possessed by a rare intelligence. . . ."

-- Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

A mysterious "novel-in-stories": "Some of the most stylish ‘post-modern fiction’ there is."
--John Strausbaugh, New York Press

". . . Valeria is haunted by the sense that there's a completely different way to live, akin to living on another planet. . . . She journeys. . . through Ascher/Straus-world, a world where film, TV, dreams, and brief conversations collide to create a hyperreal and moody landscape."

-- Stephen Beachy, San Francisco Bay Guardian
“. . . [an] absorbing, sexy and troubling reflection of these weird times. . . it should be read."
--John Strausbaugh, New York Press