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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  49 reviews
After ten years, Hansel Nothing returns to his boyhood home, unable to remember anything that has happened to him since he left. Back home, he stays in Zerostrata, a treehouse in the backyard. The Nothing family is as dysfunctional and depressed as ever. His mother keeps a cat on her head and incessantly munches prescription medication. His father has left the house to ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 3rd 2008 by Eraserhead Press (first published April 30th 2006)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  357 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, bizarro
Depressed 20-something Hansel Nothing returns to his mother's house to recapture the zest for life he had in his childhood. It's just as he remembered it. His dad has run away to become a superhero, his brother hasn't left the house in two years, and his mother is addicted to prescription drugs. While sitting in his tree house, Zerostrata, he notices a naked girl running through the woods and immediately knows his life is going to get better...

I didn't really know what to expect from Zerostrata
Emm - On a Hiatus of Uncertain Nature
"That wasn't what I wanted. That wasn't what I wanted at all. I didn't want to be a kid again. I just wanted to be in Zerostrata. I just wanted to look out over things, from that height, with virtually nothing holding me back from the world around me."

Zerostrata is a story of innocent wonder, things falling apart and being mended. This is the kind of book that cuddles up to your heart and brain and presses out all the decay and sadness, if just for a precious while. It's the strangest of
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Zerostrata is yet another book that should be rated higher than three, it's more of a three and a half star book. The title comes from the name of the narrators tree house that he had as a child. Now the narrator is an adult and he's returned home and finds refuge in the tree house. The entire atmosphere of the book could best be called absurd, things happen that at times feel like they are just being weird for weirds sake, but after taking in the whole book they instead all seem to fit into the ...more
Garrett Cook
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Terry Gilliam, the depressed and the young at heart
Do you remember the first time you saw Cinema Paradiso, It's a Wonderful Life, Amelie? These are films that people can accuse of being saccharine or silly, but not without risk of losing out on a kind of existential validation that anyone can use. Zerostrata is the same way. Fans of a darker, harsher kind of Bizarro might dismiss Zerostrata as overly cute or naively positive, but they'll miss out on a wonderful story about fighting banality and finding joy where you can, involving a treehouse, a ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone not quite right in the head (in a good way)
Recommended to Marvin by: Someone not quite right in the head (in a good way)
Shelves: autographed, fantasy
I expect a lot of weird crap when I read an Andersen Prunty novel.

Heart-warming is not one of them.

Zerostrata is a bizarre, naked running in the woods, bad hallucinogenics sort of way. It is a kind of romance where the weird and unthinkable becomes kind of normal. That is Prunty's forte; making the impossible seem plausible. His world is strange and impossible but the characters deal with it as it is like any other day. While the previous novels by Prunty I've read were in the
I honestly do not know how to describe this book. Maybe as a dream? The story DOES have a plot, but that's not the best part. The best part is the surreal, meandering quality to the story. Truly bizarre things happen, but it's all very mellow and understated, in a way -- you know that everything is going to turn out just find, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

I'm not sure what it all means -- jeez, I never do with these bizarro stories -- but I absolutely loved the style. There are so many
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Andersen Prunty’s books so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed Zerostrata. Mr. Prunty has a knack for telling a whacked out story and making it believable. Some of the more “out there” books that I have read really seem to try too hard to show how bizarre they are and it comes off as forced and detracts from the story. It’s as if some authors have to scream it at you, “look at me, I’m crazy and so is my book. My book is so crazy and hard to follow and if you don’t get it then you’re ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bizarro
Zerostrata is the nearest to a bizarro romance I expect to find. The story reminded me of a Wes Anderson film, particularly The Royal Tenenbaums, forever a favorite of mine, though much more strange. The main character is straight out of an Anderson film at least, as with his eccentric and disturbed family.

I liked Morning is Dead by the author a little more than this, though not by much. Zerostrata is not quite as dark, a little more lighthearted, a difficult thing to do in the bizarro genre in
Jason Pettus
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As I've said here before, I'm glad that CCLaP's becoming known as a place that is friendly to absurdist and surrealist literature; these are experimental art forms to begin with, with many of the projects outright bad, making it difficult for even the good ones to get any kind of publicity. Take
Anthony Chavez
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, bizarro
A great book I couldn't put down and finished with just one break for lunch. Not too many books grab me like that. This is an amazing story, that as someone else stated, could totally be a bizarro Tim Burton unconventional love story. I had never read Prunty previously and I gotta say the man is an amazing storyteller, the story at times does play out like a dream world, but this bizarro dreamworld, called Grayson, Prunty builds well, I never once questioned the quirky things going on around the ...more
David Barbee
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While I haven’t read everything by Andersen Prunty, Zerostrata is so far my favorite. It’s a weird fable for adults. It’s a horror story that’s more like a love story. It’s a love story that’s more like a horror story. It really is just plain magical.

Prunty leading man, Hansel Nothing, is returning home to his supremely dysfunctional family. He doesn’t know where he’s been but he definitely knows why he left home. Hansel is kind of a blank slate, but that’s because this story is about discovery.
Rosie Dempsey
Jun 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Okay, for some reason that is totally lost on me, this book has a really high rating, which is why I bought it in the first place. And don't get me wrong, I dig surrealism. But there's a difference between a carefully crafted surrealist/absurd story, and a rudimentary plot where you look around the room as you write it, asking, "what weird thing can I put in this scene? Lettuce? Okay, lettuce." The writing is clumsy at best. People who think Prunty is good should really read Yourgrau (I will ...more
Edmund Colell
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Andersen Prunty's warm romance set in a town called Grayson has, like a one-night stand, given me mixed feelings.

Hansel Nothing is the lucky recipient of this romantic plot, though before the words "That was when I saw her" end an early chapter, he returns to his childhood home. His mother and his brother, Zasper, in drug-dependent and floor-dwelling disrepair, have decayed as much as the eponymous tree house, Zerostrata. Hansel does not feel disgusted by this return to old memories, however,
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
All the Bizarro I have read since being introduced to the genre has had some sort of depressing element to it. Either a tragedy right from the start, or a bleak ending, or some sort of horrible event in the middle that taints the story overall. These are not bad elements, each has worked in its way to tell the story the author intended.

Andersen Prunty, however, has written a strange tale that starts out with a tone of "meh" and becomes increasingly bright and hopeful as the reader goes further.
William Pauley III
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Imagine a movie written by Wes Anderson that is directed by Michel Gondry - you'll have something close to Andersen Prunty's "Zerostrata".

The book focuses around a lost young man named Hansel who is trying his hardest to find his place in the world. After a few years of soul searching, Hansel returns home in hopes to rekindle any kind of happiness that may have been left over from his childhood.

But his strange, eccentric family doesn't make it an easier on him. His father has become a
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
I want to give this book five stars. I even have the power to give this book five stars. Perhaps I will, but I feel like that special thing, that thing that really is just some stupid chemical reaction in my brain that says five stars you idiot just didn't happen here.

I love the main character. I love that he ignores the fact that everything around him is completely absurd. Not because he doesn't realize (a poor plot device in my opinion), but because he doesn't seem to see a particularly good
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Can you go home again? If you do, are you sure that you wanted to? Hansel Nothing returns to his family's depressing home after ten years of doing things that he can't remember. When he meets the girl of his dreams (actually, it's someone else's dream) Hansel is introduced to a world where anything is possible. I adore this story. Simply, it's a story about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. It's also about shedding the past and moving on. Oh, and trampolines. It's also about trampolines.
Grant Wamack
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Zerostrata is more than a good looking book. It's heartwarming and overflowing with bizarro love.Buy it and cherish it.
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-audio
Wow - this book blew me away, and it was totally unexpected.

Highly recommend this to everyone to give bizarro a try.
Andrew Ferguson
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very weird. Well written, in as much as you can see the world through the main charcter's eyes, but it's a very weird view.
I have read several short stories of his which I found unsatisfying and hoped a full length novel would be better. It wasn't.
Not my sort of book and I won't be reading any more of this author.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Really liked the parts describing how it feels to be in love... but other than that I guess I didn’t really “get” the book... it kinda felt like something written frantically in one take while on drugs... everything was kinda random... but perhaps I’m just not used to this style of writing.
Ekel Adolf
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
This bizarro novella is charming and has heart (just like the cover indicates), but don't fear for any moment these qualities reduce its level of weirdness and the bizarre.
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This would have made a great short story.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Andersen Prunty's Zerostrata is an amazing work that ties surreal literature, a coming of age story, and Gimm's fairytales in an original way that is an absolute pleasure to read. The characters and scenes are wonderfully dynamic and interesting. I read this work in one sitting, and I plan on picking up as many other works by this author as I possibly can.

The plot of Zerostrata is a dreamlike romp. It follows Hansel Nothing as he wanders around his home town trying to remember his past and where
William Pauley III
Imagine a movie written by Wes Anderson that is directed by Michel Gondry - you'll have something close to Andersen Prunty's "Zerostrata".

The book focuses around a lost young man named Hansel who is trying his hardest to find his place in the world. After a few years of soul searching, Hansel returns home in hopes to rekindle any kind of happiness that may have been left over from his childhood.

But his strange, eccentric family doesn't make it an easier on him. His father has become a
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a really great book. The entire thing felt like reading a dream. The characters were so lovable, the dialogue was great, especially between Hansel and his brother. I really didn't expect it to be so sweet. It was like a mix between Running with scissors and a Murakami novel. It was just so...endearing, you couldn't help but love it.

I will say this though, in my opinion the love story actually got kind of distracting, but this book was still amazing. A fast read, but so totally worth
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Andersen Prunty is one of the authors considered to be in the vanguard of the "bizarro" genre. While this book does go very weird it is, at it's heart, a tender story about how love can one's reality. It is tempting to read Zerostrata as an allegory, but ultimately it is a fairy tale which, while borrowing some of the framework of Hansel and Gretel sets out to tell a very different and entertaining story.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: bizarre-fiction
Andersen Prunty introduced me to a new literary genre with “Zerostrata”. I’ve never read anything in the bizarre fiction genre, so this was my debut. I can’t say I loved it, mostly because I’m not a big fan of surrealism. But I actually like this story. It had a meaningful plot, interesting characters and dream-like sensation until the very end. It is a short and sweet story that it’s worth your time.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I seriously love this book. I am so bad at reviews but Andersen Prunty is one of my favorite bizarro authors aside from Carlton Mellick III and Garrett Cook. All three were my beginning authors when reading this type of genre and I don't regret it! I will always love this genre that's why I love these types of books. If you are a beginner bizarro reader I would certainly recommend starting out on this one. It's a nice little story.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
“And I don’t ever really want to know you.
What do you mean?
If you can ever completely know someone then that means that person has stopped changing, has stopped thinking, has stopped doing anything it is that makes a person unique and individual. The fun is in getting to know someone. Experiencing things with them, watching them change and just hoping they don’t change so much they no longer interest you.”
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Ok I want to know what happens next if anything! 1 16 Nov 22, 2008 01:46PM  
your book sounds interesting 2 22 Nov 08, 2008 10:15AM  

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Andersen Prunty lives in Ohio. He writes novels and short stories. Visit him at
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“Even the silences seemed infused with a secret knowledge. We held hands as we walked around the moon and it felt right and it felt good. I had never felt anything like that before.” 8 likes
“And you walk or wheel to this place here when you feel sad? On your walks? Or wheels? This is a sad place. More sadder it could turn you.” 6 likes
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