Are we looking for the absolute truth of love or the absolute feeling of it? Or is the question better put: is love whatever best suits our personal needs, or is love ineffable? In Bud Smith’s novel, Teenager, one can imagine it as a light flickering past the darkness in our lives. The main character, Kody, would likely say that he was too dim to comprehend the deep meaning of such things. After all, he is a teenager and can only know what he has already seen and what he imagines. What he has seen is a bleak mixture of foster homes, a hellish high school, juvenile hall, and then Teal. To the world, she was Tella Carticelli, but to him, she was his LIGHT flickering past his darkness. She was his “Teal Cartwheels” and no obstacle or sense of reality could keep him from her. Or her from him.
As the city segues further into spring, we’ve got books by a couple of old favorites due out this month. Our notable literary offerings for May tilt heavily on the side of fiction, though there’s also an important and incisive new history of New York to be found here, as well as a resonant memoir and an essential guide to an essential musician. Looking for something to read as the days grow longer and the trees turn green? Here are a few selections for your consideration.
In our morning reading: interviews with Rita Wong and Bud Smith, tips on writer’s tilt, and more.
In our afternoon reading: thoughts on the writings of Henry Dumas, new work by Bud Smith, and more.
BUD SMITH works heavy construction and lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is the author of Teenager (Vintage, 2022), Double Bird (Maudlin House, 2018), and Dust Bunny City (Disorder Press, 2017), among other books. His fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Joyland, and The Nervous Breakdown. He is also a creative writing teacher and editor.
In our weekend reading: an interview with Ashleigh Bryant Phillip, thoughts on the work of Carlos Busqued, and more.
In our afternoon reading: new writing by Bud Smith, an interview with Hari Kunzru, and more.
In our morning reading: new writing by Karolina Waclawiak, thoughts on Adrian Tomine’s new book, and more.