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Krakow Melt

Krakow Melt

By Daniel Allen Cox
Categories: LGBTQ+, Gay Literature, Fiction
Paperback : 9781551523729, 152 pages, 2010


Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction Finalist

Shortlisted for a ReLit Award
Shortlisted for an Independent Literary Award

This second novel by Lambda Literary Award
finalist Daniel Allen Cox (Shuck) is an incendiary story about two pyromaniacs who fight
homophobia in Krakow, Poland, one of the
fronts of the Solidarnosc revolution that eventually toppled the Berlin Wall in 1989. It's 2005, and Poland is grappling with its newfound role as a member of the European Union; the nation dips into moral crisis as Pope John Paul II
(a Pole) hovers near death while the country's
soon-to-be president makes homophobic declarations.

Radek, a bisexual artist and a practitioner of
the extreme urban sport parkour, is convinced
that fire is the great stabilizer. While creating
miniature replicas of the world's great infernos--Chicago 1871, San Francisco 1906, London 1666--he meets Dorota, a literature student and budding pyromaniac. Driven by rage, sexual curiosity for one another, and Pink Floyd, they buck church, government, and the LGBT community to find sexual freedom, escaping their
enemies by scaling the crumbling walls and
ideas of the city.

Provocative and unnerving, Krakow Melt is at once a love letter and a fiery call to arms.


  • Short-listed, Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction 2011
  • Short-listed, Lambda Literary Award 2011
  • Short-listed, ReLit Award 2011


Krakow Melt is Syd Barrett crossed with the Polish queer nation, a rollicking and heart-pounding urban jump through some grim realities and fine prose stylings. -Zoe Whittall, author of Bottle Rocket Hearts and Holding Still For As Long As Possible

The description of a gay pride march ought to be prescribed reading for anybody who thinks activism is passe. Let your sense of foreboding guide you through Krakow Melt until you smell gasoline and realize you are gripping your own box of matches. -Patrick Califia, author of Public Sex and Macho Sluts

I've been a fan of Daniel Allen Cox's writing for some time, and in Krakow Melt the wit, punch and sexual heat of Shuck return, revved up even more. As we read we slip into a free zone of writing, almost as if the boundaries of the page had themselves slipped away and we were free to wander through Eastern Europe like natives, with the haunted and nomadic gaze of those on whom history has given up. Cox brings us a story of struggle, defeat, liberation and love that I will never forget. -Kevin Killian, author of Spreadeagle and Impossible Princess

Cox has an off-kilter and erotic way with words; Krakow Melt is a strangely wonderful book, an incendiary tribute to outlawed desires. -Montreal Mirror

The second novel by Daniel Allen Cox displays the same visceral, urgent narrative style as his debut, Shuck. -Quill & Quire

[Daniel Allen Cox] has done it again. Written a brilliant f--ing novel with a character that grabs you by the throat and won't let go until he's shown you his world, at breakneck speed. -Blackheart Magazine

Cox proves himself to be a master of rebellion, a troubadour of transgression. -Gay People's Chronicle

In the end, you might find yourself thinking about this book even after having finished it, its embers smoldering in your thoughts. -Lambda Literary

Cox's splintered narrative, polished to an incisive gloss, bristles with both mischief and menace, and any of its short, titled chapters could stand alone. References to Pink Floyd, Polish pope John Paul II, and an unquenchable anger course from the first page to the last---a pointillistic poisoned pill. -Publishers Weekly

Strange, provocative, and daring: all adjectives that fit Daniel Allen Cox's work. In Krakow Melt, the writer gets stranger, more provocative, and more daring. Best of all, he's given us a novel that's both thrilling and fun to read. -Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear

Author Cox employs terse, effective prose to reveal the consciousness of his characters and the time in which they live. His ability to create an entire world view and a sense of place - in few pages - is exceptional. In this respect, his style recalls that of another talented gay writer, Jeanette Winterson. -Bay Area Reporter

A powerful bit of queer transgressive fiction, and a fascinating meditation on what it means to be an outsider. -Gay & Lesbian Review

Krakow Melt can be seen as Cox's realization, on paper, of a community talking to itself, or at least, a call for the queer community to talk activism. -You Fight Like Anne Rice

Dying Popes and gays with matches-two of my favorite subjects. Daniel Allen Cox reminds us that queers and their allies from Krakow to California won't stand for institutions getting between them and an orgasm. I say burn it all down, especially if it has stained glass. And buy this book! -Michael Musto, Village Voice columnist, author of Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back

Cox is a sophisticated, playful, and inventive writer . .. The publication of this well-written and intriguing book coincides with a huge EuroPride march in Warsaw. No doubt about it - a unique novel like this one contributes to a sense of liberation. -Montreal Review of Books

Krakow Melt is, like Radek, brash, wild, and inventive. Daniel Allen Cox's real accomplishment, however, is his ability to use these elements - his sledgehammer side - not for shock value alone but to enhance a book that, at its core, possesses a lingering significance. In every revolution there are casualties, those who never taste the triumph they contributed to. When you want to destroy something, you run the risk of destroying yourself. The fire, however, is beautiful while it burns.
-Rover Arts

A beautifully subversive novel . ..Cox is among the top young writers in this country. He is courageous, creative and inventive. He is also so, so what Canlit needs more of . .. Simply put -- this is the best Canadian novel I have read in many, many months. -Front&Centre

The most interesting fires are quick and intense, leaving ashen memories, and that's the way Krakow Melt burns. ... Drop what you're reading right now, turn your face towards the white hot Krakow Melt and let Cox crackle your flesh. -Out in Print

Cox erases taboo and delineation at every turn. ... The result is a volatile book that, while mostly contained and controlled, spills over the edges to create a meta-literary experience. Like fire, Cox's novel illuminates---and singes. -EDGE Publications

You know how when you group your books in your bookcase by genre and there's always a few of them that defy easy cataloguing? Krakow Melt is such a book . .. Gender roles, sexual orientation, socio-political commitment and materialism are given valentines or bull's-eyes in the galvanizing prose of Cox. An author's second book is usually his safest but Cox proves that his first book Shuck was no fluke . .. The characters are smarter, the dialogue is sharper and the words themselves seem to come straight from Cox' unconscious. -Facepuller