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Alter Alter

This book is a collection of seven stories, tied into one main theme, Alter Alter, covering mental illness, hell, good and evil, love, childhood, displacement and distance.



This book is a collection of preexistent stories, each with a distinct inspiration, articulated in seven sections.

  1. Cassandra, vision, a “premonition,” is loosely related to neuro difference, mental illness, mental states often considered “altered.”
  2. Hell is death, the ultimate altered state, our imagination of the afterlife, devil/demon, and the idea of evil.
  3. Mozart, a section about love, declined by a number of different love stories, happy, unhappy, complex, some linear.
  4. In Color is also about love from a child’s point of view. It is about girlhood and coming of age, but it goes backwards and closes upon infant memories.
  5. Alter Alter contains the title story, and it focuses on the main theme of the book. It contains several stories of sisterhood, either biological or not.
  6. All the stories in Long Distance add to the relationship with the other an element of displacement and remoteness.
  7. Drift amplifies the distance and resumes a surreal tone, similar to that of the first section.



Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Pski’s Porch, 2022), The Past, Ineffable (Cholla Needles, 2023), and Odd Arcana (Cholla Needles, 2023).

Additional information

Weight19 oz
Dimensions5 × 7 in





Elyssar Press





1 review for Alter Alter

  1. Alex M. Frankel, author of Birth Mother Mercy

    “There’s no path, no stairs, no trail, no slope, nothing. Just a void … will it allow my passage? How does emptiness hold?” In the highly unusual pieces that comprise Alter Alter, Toti O’Brien’s narrators stumble through a fog of crepuscular consciousness. These explorative ficciones, these multi-layered mini-voyages recounted in a staccato style, manage to travel from O’Brien’s mind to the reader’s, where they grope anew for stability and safe harbor in an era that provides neither.

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