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As a Decade Fades Paperback – November 7, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 71 ratings

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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 250 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 six would you chuck overboard to spare the remaining four? (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.

I spent many 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 (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...

Although I consider myself a somewhat 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.

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.

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 the reader to do some work, and in exchange for said work, there is a greater payoff.

As a Decade Fades is 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.

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).

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

  • Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
  • Paperback : 266 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1938793021
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1938793028
  • Dimensions : 5 x 0.67 x 8 inches
  • Publisher : Asymmetrical Press (November 7, 2012)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 71 ratings

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not so sure
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2013
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Chris Gargini-Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2013
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P. Hundt
4.0 out of 5 stars Halb Biographie, halb Roman. Ein gutes Buch.
Reviewed in Germany on March 28, 2013
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good
Reviewed in Australia on February 6, 2014
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit confusing read
Reviewed in Canada on November 9, 2017
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