Ashley Farmer's The Farmacist, a meditation on the Facebook game, Farm Town, explores the realm where the "real" world buffets the imagination, and the conscious mind courts the subconscious iterations of desire and distraction. It investigates the liminal space between log on and log off, between rural and urban. Whip smart and empathetic, The Farmicist is fiction crashing the lyric's slumber party, a reified shibboleth for the age of social media, all of it rendered beautifully, the poet's ear and the proser's eye working together to encapsulate and expound. Using the digital farm as a metaphor for the incredible shrinking American dream, Farmer gives her reader the rare experience of understanding human ambitions and aspirations as both futile and necessary. Don't ignore the invitation.
It's rare to find bursts of prose so laden with the fruit of meaning: city and country, solitude and sociality, leisure and labor all get grafted together into a novel tree of Ashley Farmer's making. This book is often stunning in its vision of western life, the internet, and alienation-as she writes for us, "These dreams aren't even mine-I just idle in them."
-Ken Baumann, author of EarthBound, Solip, & Say, Cut, Map
It sounds nice when the speaker says it, that '[f]ailing at one world means nothing in another,' but as the stories in Ashley Farmer's captivating The Farmacist accrue, this proclamation becomes stretched tight, another reminder that how we honor / appropriate the past and thus how we choose to trudge into the future--beaten to a pulp or with our shovels held high--is the real key to driving out of this digitized pit we all slip into from time to time. I can't think of a better book for a new press to be running out of the gates with--one of the most daring and haunting collections I've had drop in my muddy mitts in a long, long while.
-Tyler Gobble, author of More Wreck More Wreck
The Farmacist cultivates survival, nostalgia, and community through surreal verve and melancholy tenderness. Splendid panoramas, ambitious toiling, flickers of Americana, a shared dream; Ashley Farmer illuminates the digital pastorals we rove and roam to connect, the vast pulsing heartlands we carry inside us.
-Gina Keicher, Wilderness Champion & Here is My Adventure I Call it Alone