In our afternoon reading: histories of The Go-Betweens and Godflesh, interviews with Sarah Gerard and Porochista Khakpour, notes on the new collection from Alejandro Zambra, and more.
February’s on us now, and the notable books due out this month are a wide-ranging group. There’s surreal fiction, including the first new collection from Kelly Link in several years; memoirs by two key figures in New York City’s music scene; astute takes on politics and literature from a writer who’s called cities on three continents home; and much more.
Afternoon Bites: Reading Frenzy, Renata Adler, Festival Nrmal Report, Geoff Rickly on Cult of Youth, and More
The excellent Portland bookstore/zine store/art space Reading Frenzy is holding a fundraiser for its new location. The Portland Mercury has more. We will only say that we have our eyes on some of the prints they’re offering as incentives. At Stereogum, Liz Pelly reports from Festival Nrmal. “By starting with one guitar and one voice, then ending with a full band, orchestra and group vocal, “Man & Man’s Ruin” begins as Sean Ragon and ends as Cult of Youth. It begins […]
Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra; translated by Megan McDowell Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 160 p. All novels attempt to answer a question. Lolita, for example, attempted to answer the question of whether Nabokov could write one of the greatest and most beautiful novels ever around a revolting character and topic? (“Yes. Obviously,” the book replies with insouciance.) Many of the writers living under dictatorships or totalitarian or fascist regimes asked the same abiding question: How do you retain […]
Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra; translated by Carolina De Robertis Melville House; 83 p. The first paragraph of Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai effectively spells out the plot of the story we’re about to read, decisively naming the two central characters — essentially creating them out of the air before us — and setting out where they’ll be at narrative’s end. The prose is exceedingly formal and exceedingly conscious of itself: “Let’s say that she is called or was called Emilia,” one passage begins. […]