Lee Rourke’s new novel Glitch opens with its protagonist returning home to England to deal with a family crisis. En route, his flight encounters a bizarre mechanical failure, segueing into a harrowing sequence of in-flight chaos. That’s only the beginning of an emotionally wrenching period for the novel’s hero, as he wrangles with troubled relationships, the specter of mortality, and a world that no longer works the way it should. Also in there are lyrical forays into memory and a handful of transcendentally-written passages, coming together for an unforgettable read. I talked with Rourke about the novel’s origins and how it relates to his other works via email.
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.
I met Christian TeBordo years ago at the Rainbo Club. He’s a regular. His spot is by the door, facing west. There’s a calm, self-contained quality to the way he carries himself. There’s no smartphone, notebook, or any other accessory on the bartop in front of him; just his pint of beer on the bar and a thoughtful expression on his face. He doesn’t look bored or lonely or sad like so many solitary drinkers do. The visit to the bar is clearly part of a routine. I find out later it’s the mid-point stop on his return from work between the Blue Line and home. For years we waved familiarly but rarely talked. I’m not in the habit of intruding on others’ space without a good reason. I knew TeBordo was a writer of some kind and that he was a professor at Roosevelt University, but not much more than that.
Burn it Down is a collection of essays by women exploring women’s anger. Editor Lilly Dancyger solicited essays from a broad spectrum of women and presents a variety of different types of anger, from the anger surrounding sexual assault to the anger derived from not being believed by their own doctor. The writers explore the triggers of their anger, the emotional response of the experience, and how anger impacts their lives. Lilly is a contributing editor and columnist at Catapult, runs the Memoir Monday newsletter and Brooklyn-based reading series, and is the author of a forthcoming memoir. We spoke by phone shortly after the release of the book.
Hello my name is Zac and I have a book up for pre-order from CLASH Books. About a month ago, like all authors trying to promote a new book via live readings, I started looking into 1) what cool cities I’ll be in/near in the coming months and 2) which cool friends or potential friends live in those cities. And I discovered that 1) I was planning on going to Richmond, VA for Thanksgiving this year and 2) Lindsay Lerman, whose debut novel I’m From Nowhere was just released by CLASH, lives in Richmond. Obviously what followed was a riveting tale of burgeoning friendship and authorial cross-promotion: we read each other’s books, we started planning a reading, Lindsay wrote a strikingly kind blurb for my book, I agreed to write a blurb for her book’s second run, and, of greatest benefit to you, the reader, we found ourselves in a conversation that could, given some more structure and copyediting, culminate in a nice, formal, literary interview. And well looky here, we got ourselves a nice, formal, literary interview. We got ourselves two authors in conversation, talking about things like books and philosophy and ecological disaster and MySpace.com. All the hits. Everything you could ask for.
Literature that makes me uncomfortable holds a special place in my heart. This year I’ve been lucky enough to read two books that have dug their way underneath my skin and stuck with me like angry chiggers hellbent on never letting go. The first book was Rachel Eve Moulton’s Tinfoil Butterfly. The second was my most recent read, Matthieu Simard’s The Country Will Bring Us No Peace. A bleak, strangely poetic narrative full of mystery that explores the darkest corners of human emotion, The Country Will Bring Us No Peace is an outstanding novel with a depressive atmosphere that sticks to your ribs and refuses to let go.
Joshua Chaplinsky‘s new collection, Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape, boasts one of the best titles I’ve seen in ages and a cover that suggests some lost cosmic horror classic. The stories contained within range in tone from surreal to horrific to satirical; it’s a terrific statement of purpose, and one that never lets the reader rest. I talked with Chaplinsky about the genesis of the book, the ways in which it came together, and what’s next for him.
Well, it’s November, and the days are growing shorter and shorter. (Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere, at least.) We’d say that this group of books are an array of doorstoppers, suitable for curling up by the fire, but that’s not entirely true; most of these books are quite trim, in fact. They do represent a wide array of styles, however: from comic novels to incisive cultural studies; from surreal fiction in translation to candid usage of the essay form. Here are a few of the November books we’re most excited about.