Janalyn Guo‘s fiction emerges from a host of unlikely collisions. In her debut, Our Colony Beyond the City of Ruins, features bizarre amalgamations of humans and vegetable life – but Guo is equally at home taking an Ibsen-inspired story to an unexpected place. Her work abounds with unpredictability: haunting visions of a post-human tomorrow on one page, a quiet moment of introspection on the next. I spoke with her about the roots of this book and the effects of certain spaces on her work.
Today, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from Dmitry Samarov’s forthcoming book Music to My Eyes, due out on April 1st on Tortoise Books. In it, Samarov turns the spotlight on several of the musicians who have impressed him most over the years, bringing together his impressions of their sound with memories of a changing Chicago — and, of course, his artwork, capturing the energy and emotion of musicians playing before an audience.
On Tuesday February 12th at Konikuniya Bookstore on 6th Avenue in New York City I saw Raymond Strom do a Q&A for his new debut novel, Northern Lights. At one point an audience member asked Strom about his inspiration in writing the book, and he explained that an essential question guided the novel:
Why were we such thrill seekers as teenagers?
I relate deeply to the characters in Strom’s novel—to their family of origin stories and also their current destructive choices. While I do not have Strom’s answer to his question, coming from a similar background, and having plenty of experience with many inappropriate choices when I was young, I do have mine.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
Metaphors are a tricky thing. In the sense of K Chess’s novel Famous Men Who Never Lived, I mean that literally: its central conceit eventually turns out to be a sort of magic trick, in the sense of misdirection and revelation. At the heart of Chess’s book is a displaced population: a group of residents from a parallel Earth who find themselves refugees in a familiar place: contemporary New York. (For this reader, it was very familiar: lengthy sequences play out in several locations less than a mile from my apartment.) But while this idea might seem like grounds for a sweeping, thematically resonant work of fiction challenging readers’ ideas about refugee narratives, that’s not exactly what Chess is after here.
Big Bruiser Dope Boy’s debut poetry collection, Foghorn Leghorn, cannot be sold on Amazon.com. Something about the cover, they said, something about the beloved, Southern-fried Looney Tunes chicken taking a big load on the face, something about that being too problematic for our nation’s youth who are otherwise looking to buy dildos and erotic fanfiction ebooks. So, if you want the brooding, complex poetry that haunts these pages, you gotta find it somewhere else. No two-day shipping on this hot piece of poetry, no algorithmically generated recommendations to clutter shit up. This is poetry in, poetry out. Fuck you.
We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Jordan A. Rothacker’s new collection Gristle, out this week on Stalking Horse Press. We’ve been excited about this one ever since it came up when we interviewed Rothacker last year. Please enjoy “Something That Happened a Long Time Ago,” an excerpt from the story “The Fish Family Album.”
What literary delights does March bring? A number of books we’ve been awaiting eagerly for years, for one thing, including new works by Mitchell S. Jackson and Seth Fried. A host of ambitious literary debuts as well — and a number of collections of short fiction that push at the limits of storytelling. Here’s a look at some of the March books we’re looking forward to the most.