A new novel by University of Notre Dame English professor Steve Tomasula explores issues of power, gender, politics and self-identity in a post-biological future.
“VAS: An Opera in Flatland,” published by University of Chicago Press, is the saga of the inhabitants of Flatland who are able to step outside their lineage by rearranging the bodies of plants, animals and themselves.
Extending the boundaries of a traditional novel, “VAS” is replete with three-color graphics, foldout pages, typographic creativity and drawings. Stephen Farrell of the Art Institute of Chicago created the art and design for the book.
Using a wide sweep of representations of the body, from pedigree charts to genetic sequences, the novel examines how different ways of imagining the body generate different stories of knowledge, power, history, art and the literature of who we are.
Tomasula joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1996 and specializes in fiction writing, postmodern fiction and the literature of the small press. He is also the author of “In and Oz,” published by Ministry of Whimsy Press in 2004.
His short fiction and essays have appeared in Fiction International, McSweeneys and the Iowa Review, which awarded him the Iowa Prize for most distinguished work in any genre. He is a regular contributor to The Review of Contemporary Fiction and the American Book Review.
Tomasula earned his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his bachelors degree from Purdue University.