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Kos Kostmayer

“ Fargo Burns, the madly baffled, restless and beguiling subject of Kos Kostmayer’s compelling novel, bounces like a pinball between excess and sobriety—as do we, his unsettled readers. Kostmayer’s visceral account of one man’s quest for quiet normality is dark, tense, playful and deeply affecting. ”

—Jim Crace, author of Being Dead

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"Kos Kostmayer is a master, and his novel Fargo Burns is a masterpiece. There is no other word for it. The entire novel is glorious, memorable, enthralling.”

—Carey Harrison

Author of Justice and The Liskeard Quartet

Fargo Burns

"Howling and half-naked in his torn and bloody clothing Fargo is a desperate man and dangerous to himself and others. He ricochets around his kitchen, heaving furniture into the street. The street is twelve stories down and Fargo fills the New York air with chairs and tables, lamps and dishes, cutting boards and cabinets, electric fans and plastic caddies, frying pans and double boilers, brooms and mops and metal buckets, canned goods and Pyrex platters, a garbage can, a cookie jar, a toaster oven, even the refrigerator door, which he rips off and throws out the window."


Kos Kostmayer’s novel Fargo Burns, which Kirkus Reviews called “joyful as well as harrowing”, was published by Dr. Cicero Books in the spring of 2020. The novel takes its title from the protagonist, a Mississippi-born New Yorker who goes mad and thinks he’s turned into a dog. He is arrested and taken to a mental hospital where he briefly believes his therapist is Virginia Woolf. After recovering and being released, Fargo immediately plunges out of one kind of madness into another when he starts an affair with a hired killer’s girlfriend. The story unfolds at the height of the war against Vietnam, a time of turmoil, revolutionary change and violent upheaval in American society. In a stunning debut novel, which Jim Crace, the author of Being Dead, described as “dark, tense, playful and deeply affecting”, Kos Kostmayer, an award-winning playwright and poet, brings concision and beauty, as well as dark subversive humor, to this innovative and moving exploration of the dread that lies at the heart of so much American life.

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