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As a Decade Fades [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Fields Millburn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

People don't know how to love the ones they love until they disappear from their lives. 
 
As he approaches thirty, Jody Grafton's career as a singer-songwriter falls apart: he loses his record deal, his money, his fame--even his desire to create new music. While he stares at the rubble of his one-hit-wonder musical career, his mother is diagnosed with lung cancer, his marriage ends abruptly, and Jody starts drinking heavily to deaden his new reality.  
 
When he hasn't a single reason left to live, he attempts suicide and ends up in a psych ward where he's prodded with questions he isn't yet prepared to answer. Amid the tailspin, Jody receives a phone call from his recently estranged girlfriend and she has unexpected news: she's pregnant.  
 
As a Decade Fades begins with this phone call. As his twenties twilight, Jody Grafton grapples with loneliness, depression, lust, and infatuation while glancing at the mounting wreckage in his rearview. When he can't fit--or force--the pieces of his life back together, he leaves his native Ohio to search for answers in the most unlikely of places: Bed-Stuy Brooklyn.  
 
To fade the scars of the last decade, Jody must face his self-inflicted wounds head-on if he plans to discover a brighter future on the horizon. But does he have the strength to piece his life back together? 


Editorial Reviews

From the Author

As a Decade Fades went through nearly 30 drafts and took on many different forms in the process. While the final version is a mere 283 pages, the book was roughly 950 pages a year before publication, at its bloated zenith. It was a bleak time when I peered down at that near-1000-page stack and realized that an ending wasn't in sight. I knew that to find a meaningful ending, I would have to get rid of the excess.

Condensing the story down to its essence required me to jettison some 600+ pages, which turned out to be a gruesome, heartbreaking process. If you had 10 children, which 6 would you chuck overboard to spare the remaining 4? (Wait, don't answer that.) But those murdered pages weren't for naught. They served as an important part of the process; they helped form the now final novel. Without the complexities of an almost 1000-page monstrosity, I wouldn't've had the stone from which I chiseled the final sculpture. I couldn't've found the beauty without the banality.

It's pretty clear that I haven't worked harder on anything in my life. I spent many 3-12 hour days laboring on the prose contained on these pages. The final draft was closely scrutinized by more than a dozen proofreaders and two professional editors. And at the end of the day, I can look myself in the mirror and know that I could not have written a better book than the novel I'm publishing today.

It's worth noting that As a Decade Fades is not a novel in the traditional sense. It is, more or less, a fragmented narrative of 24 short stories--some short, some long--segmented over three distinct sections. This feat was complicated to maneuver around, but I found it necessary to structure the book this way for a myriad of reasons that are hard to describe (viz., if I could explain those reasons here, I probably would not've had to structure the book this way), but against my best judgment, I'll do my best to explain...

1) Although I consider myself a fairly skilled fiction writer (I've written fiction appreciably longer than my well-known nonfiction), I do not think of myself as a natural novelist. Our post-MTV world is no longer a novelist's world. The world doesn't occur to me as a linear narrative; it's fragmented and broken, and it's up to us to put together the pieces of this flash-cut world as we see fit. Similarly, this book is not organized as a tidy linear narrative. It is fractured and parts of its plot are involuted and recursive and self-referential. Certain elements and plots are resolved in the traditional sense, while others are left without a neat little bow, and others still are left open to interpretation. The closer you read, the more questions you may have. But such is life.

2) Each of the book's 24 stories functions on its own. Thus, any one story can be read as a standalone piece, and a particular meaning or lesson gleaned from that single story. When combined, however, these stories work together to form a larger narrative, relating complex concepts that likely aren't apparent when the stories are read individually.

3) The way we read--particularly the way we read novels--is changing, and this book is my attempt to participate in that transformation. As a Decade Fades is a reasonably difficult book; it is challenging, but it also has a more significant payoff than, say, a blog or a self-help book or even narrative nonfiction. I wrote this book with this in mind: I want you to do some work, and in exchange for said work, there is a greater payoff.

4) You may have already read 6 of the 24 stories. Updated versions of 4 of the stories in my short story collection, Falling While Sitting Down, as well as 2 parts from of my novella, Days After the Crash, are in this book, tucked between their 18 counterparts. As noted in #2 above, these 6 stories will most assuredly shoulder the weight of a different context in the novel.

5) As a Decade Fades is somewhat (dare I say) avant-garde literature (I refuse to use the word postmodern, not because I dislike the term but because I don't think anyone actually knows what it means). Its prose contains a certain amount of grammatical prestidigitation, and thus it is not meant to be read like a freshman college assignment. Much of the syntax is meant to take on the brain-voice as you get closer to the consciousness of a particular character (viz., I want to preserve an oralish, tumbling-words, out-loud feel to the work). Hence, you will often find omitted commas, long run-on sentences, extreme use of polysyndeton, passive construction, progressive tenses, unconventional compound contractions (e.g., "wouldn't've," "I'd've," and "y'all'ren't"), compound words that aren't real words (e.g., "livingroom," "coffeetable," "bumpersticker"), paragraphs beginning with compound conjunctions (e.g., "And but so"), and other intentional grammatical faux-pas in the text. These devices are used to advance the story in a more meaningful/realistic way--i.e., used for your benefit, not necessarily mine. Stated in plain English, I basically pretty much write how I talk.

6) Because this book is about a musician, and much of it has to do with his writing process, I wanted to structure the book a lot like an album with a bunch of individual tracks (see #2 above).

7) With all that said, ultimately, this book is a novel, albeit a different kind of novel, one that welcomes literary fiction readers as well as people who don't read fiction at all. It was written in a way in which anyone can read it, tweeze from it their own meanings, and relate to the emotions of its characters. It is an emotion-filled book, and it is my intent, if anything, to connect with readers via these emotions.

About the Author

Joshua Fields Millburn left his six-figure corporate career at age 30 to become a full-time author and writing instructor. His essays at TheMinimalists.com have garnered an audience of more than 100,000 monthly readers.

As the bestselling author of three fiction and four nonfiction books, he has toured internationally and has been featured on CBS This Morning, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio,Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Forbes, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Seattle Times, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Zen Habits, and various other outlets.

Joshua has spoken at Harvard Business School, SXSW, World Domination Summit, and several other organizations, universities, and conferences.

In 2012, he cofounded Asymmetrical Press, an independent publishing company and community that embraces new technologies, methods, and ideas to help writers and creators reach an audience.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1981, Joshua currently lives in Montana. Find more info at JoshuaFieldsMillburn.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 409 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Asymmetrical Press; 5th edition (December 25, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AL0BK3A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,329 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing January 2, 2013
By FeeBee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story of a discontented, misguided, troubled and unhappy man who battles with his past and his hopes for the future. I found myself sinking into despair along with the main character (Jody) as his life falls to pieces. What irked me about him was his apathy, self-pity and neediness. I finished the novel nowhere near as hopeful as Jody, unconvinced that the answers he had found would satisfy him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great December 26, 2012
Format:Paperback
I read this book using the Kindle for PC software. I say this because as a non tech-geek I have to wonder if the editing process is compromised on e-books. Before my complaints tho, I will start with the good news.

Promoted as a journey from one's past and getting over losses it holds true to course. But WOW, is it dark. Which in hindsight, life is. When life takes turns for the worse, its not great and not fixed the way TV and the movies fix it.

I found it refreshing to have that different outlook on life.

I also found it refreshing in having Jody described from the perspective of 3 different characters - Jody, the Boy, the Troubled Man. We all go through phases in life. Our self (i.e. Jody) is there through all of it, but we do have an alter ego (the Boy or the Troubled Man) for extended periods. Thanks for highlighting it in this unique way as it is what we do in life.

Now for the not good news. The editing of the book missed far too many potential fixes. Some outlined below. I discovered numerous contradictions and some outright errors.

Two passages describes Jody's post high school years. Both lead with 'After High School, Jody moved from Midvale to Dayton with ...". There must be more than these standard 10 words to describe this event. In one passage it describes Jody being with his brother and his best friend (p 78) in the other it describes Jody being with his two best friends (p 100). This is an inconsistency, and when did he get a brother? It is only briefly mentioned that he considered one of his best friends as his brother.

Throughout the book Jody speaks in very short sentences. Almost one word answers to deep questions. And then in one section he speaks in paragraphs during a conversation with Wes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ironically overwritten January 2, 2013
By Alex
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, I found this book to be full of problems that made it difficult to appreciate the story. Parts of it were so over-written, purple, and self-indulgent while other parts were banal at best and pedantic and condescending at worst (the two page explication on African-American Vernacular English comes to mind...)

Also, and I know this is nit-picking but author's fondness for beginning sentences with "And but..." really annoyed me and distracted from the story every time it was used. I'm all for the creative use of language but the creativity has to actually work.

It's not that Joshua Fields Millburn is untalented. I think he just needs more, and perhaps a higher caliber of feedback, on his work if he's going to get beyond some of these habits. A healthy dose of ruthless-writers'-workshopesque-criticism might help him immensely. But kudos to him for working so hard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, but poor writing January 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am also a huge fan of theminimalist.com and some of Josh's books are quite interesting. This novel was a bit disappointing, however. The story and the main character are interesting, but the writing style bothers me. Firstly, it is too "clever" and thus draws attention to itself, rather than to the story. Secondly, I feel as though I am often being spoon fed here. The author doesn't need to explain the allegories used. Novels, unlike nonfiction, are supposed to work on a much more subconscious level. You describe events, create an ambience, a mood, characters, and let all of that tell a "message" to the reader. There needs to be some mystery, something the reader needs to work out for himself. A more "minimalist" writing style, with less fluff and cleverness would have worked better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A kind of warped mirror December 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I got this because I thought it would be all positive because of the other things I have read from the author as one of 'The Minimalists'. Whoops! Instead, Millburn made me confront who I was by pointing out the things that I thought only I saw and felt. His characters helped to tell the moral of the story but blurred the lines enough to protect me from screaming 'that is me!' in fear and agony, but they hit REAL close to home. By no means am I a singer with a long line of women, but I felt like those were just details to flesh out the story and give the reader a, 'whew, at least I did not have THAT to deal with!' feeling. The pain and heartache this shared with me showed me that the things have to be dealt with (not avoided) and inspired me to look at myself. But in doing so, it also reminded me that at least I am not the only one feeling these things. This book was deceptively, depressingly inspiring. Thanks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through the Cracks is the Light.... December 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Joshua Fields Millburn has once again shown us through his newest book, As a Decade Fades, that he is a natural novelist who can grapple with contemporary topics through a unique and powerful story telling structure and Generation X perspective...Very refreshing story teller and writer!

As the 24 stories unfold, they build on each other to tell Jody Grafton's coming undone story as all his relationships unravel and fall apart. However, you quickly get the sense that you could read the stories as standalone ones and in random order, yet still take away some nuggets.

Effectively switching between levels of familiarity to the character (Jody to The Troubled Man), these stories, including fitting news articles and musical lyrics, begin to weave a tale of one man's journey to rock bottom and back. Although Jody Grafton had enough success with his first record album to get a second one recorded, he was lacking direction, connection, or significance in his life and he continues to spiral down and lose control while desperately wanting to love and connect to anyone, including himself, and especially his now ex-wife and girlfriend, his supposed child, his mom, dad and friends. Left broken and unfulfilled by all his relationships and life experiences, he basically falls of the face of the world. However, once through it all, Jody realizes the true power of being at the bottom and the gift to grow and change...Just maybe we shouldn't fear our valleys of despair? Possibly this is where we do our most significant work? Who knows, it might just be what we need to find our direction, connection, significance...our life?

Bravo JFM....this story is worth all the drafts, heavy editing, countless hours and most of all for breaking all the rules (grammatical faux-pas, fractured structure like musical tracks...gotta love that about Gen Xers ;). Thank you for an advanced copy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars R rated
Knowing the author as a reputable "minimalist blogger" I was shocked to see the quality and character of this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Path Finder
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult at the beginning...
This was a difficult book for me at the beginning. At first I didn't understand the pace of the book with its chapters with songs lyrics or news articles from magazines. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ariadne Marques de Mendonça
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I liked the way the book was written but it was not really my subject matter. I am probably not the best person to comment on this book as I am a 53 yr old woman. Read more
Published 6 months ago by gail ferriman
3.0 out of 5 stars some nice stories, many boring
Wish there was more order in the book. A lot of useless stories. Some have good lessons but a lot are just pointless
Published 7 months ago by cagalindo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Articles!
Found the insight very helpful. Enjoyed understanding his way of life better. Found it easy to incorporate into my own life.
Published 8 months ago by Brittney Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile
As befits his minimalist theme, the succinct writing is much appreciated here along with its timely subject. I recommend it.
Published 8 months ago by michelle gillen
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt fiction from an excellent writer
Josh's writes in a style at all of us can relate to. His stories are about life and living it every day.
Published 8 months ago by Dharbour60
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
I'm enjoying this book! Interesting stories, good writing and very enjoyable to read. Wish I could write as well as Joshua!
Published 8 months ago by Donna Fiebrich
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
It's as if Joshua is living his life along a similar path as mine, and writing about it! Great writer!!
Published 8 months ago by anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
Read the book because I read his blog, the minimalists. Great book for mid 20s about enduring struggle. Ill be re-reading.
Published 8 months ago by Nick
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More About the Author

Joshua Fields Millburn left his corporate career at age 30 to become a full-time author. Best known as half of the simple-living duo The Minimalists, his essays have garnered an audience of more than 2 million readers at TheMinimalists.com.

The Minimalists are currently on a 100-city book tour. Free tickets: themins.com/tour

Millburn is the bestselling author of three fiction and five nonfiction books and has been featured on CBS This Morning, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Forbes, Elle Canada, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Seattle Times, Austin American-Statesman, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Zen Habits, and various other outlets.

He has toured internationally and has spoken at Harvard Business School, SXSW, World Domination Summit, TEDxWhitefish, and several other organizations, universities, and conferences.

To help raise the tide of independent publishing, Millburn cofounded Asymmetrical Press, an independent publishing company and community that embraces new technologies, methods, and ideas to help writers and creators reach an audience--publishing for the indie at heart.

Born in 1981 in Dayton, Ohio, Millburn currently lives in Missoula, Montana. Read more at his website: JoshuaFieldsMillburn.com.

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