BRIEF: an app-novel by Alexandra Chasin


Written, designed and programmed specifically to be read as an interactive book, Brief randomly pulls images to illustrate the text of the novel. This provides a wildly different visual experience for every reader.”

Alexandra Chasin’s fiercely entertaining debut novel, Brief, enters the realm of interactive books as a first in the oncoming wave of literary writing designed to incorporate the medium as an integral part of the storyline.

The Story:
In a funny, angry, hyper-articulate monologue, an art vandal makes a passionate plea to a judge: you, the reader. The vandal has been charged with defacing a masterpiece of modern art, and asks you to consider the following argument: Maybe the way we turn out is less the fault of our parents and more the effect of larger cultural and historical influences — maybe history is the real culprit. Rich with references to the high art, mass culture, political ideologies, and military maneuvers of the post-war era, from the Cold War to the introduction of television, Brief chronicles the formation of an art vandal, until the story explodes in an enactment of temporary insanity.”

The Technology:
Chasin’s collaborator, programmer Scott Peterman, helped design this iPad app-novel to invite readers into the story’s courtroom, and to enrich and complicate the art vandal’s defense.

You would be quite surprised to know about the technological development in the literary field. Similarly, in case of the finance sector, the technological advancements are many. And one of the most important ones is the automated trading software. You can read the blazing trader system review to know more about it. Back to the book,The app randomly locates images and then wraps the text around them. As a result, every screen of Brief is unique, generating new combinations and new meanings. Swipe forward and backward, you will never see the same screen twice. Torn into fragments, composited, detailed, and abstracted, the 700+ images in Brief do not serve to illustrate but rather to evoke the time period in play, and to probe the question of cause and effect in history.

iPad screen shots of Brief




5″ diameter snow globe, with miniature fake Warhol painting on easel. Wooden base contains tiny print copy of Brief buried in “vandalized” art.
snow globe

Alexandra Chasin

Alexandra Chasin received a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University in 1993, and an MFA in Fiction Writing at Vermont College in 2002. She is the author of Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market, a study of the relation between the LGBT “market” and the LGBT social movement. Other books include Kissed By, a collection of short formally innovative fiction. Chasin is a past recipient of a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe, a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, and a 2012 Fiction Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches in the Literary Studies Department at Lang College, The New School. (Author credit: Cathy Lee Crane)

Scott Peterman is an artist, inventor and developer working in a wide variety of languages and contexts. He currently teaches in the MFA Design and Technology Program at Parsons, The New School for Design. Learn more about Scott at www.