All photos by Edwina Hay
“We’re a Black, feminist punk band. That means we’re trans revolutionaries. That means we’re Black revolutionaries. That means we’re feminist revolutionaries. And, this is the real test,” drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone pauses for effect, “we’re working class revolutionaries.”
Big Joanie are everything they claim to be and more. Their lyrics are reflective and probing, digging deep and pulling us into the ups and downs of relationships and self-identity. On stage they maintain that sense of intimacy while building a big, welcoming tent. People lost their minds when the British trio performed at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. The club buzzed with anticipation long before Big Joanie played. Even as the opening band, Frida Kill, ripped through their own sizzling set, they made it clear they were just as excited as the rest of us to see Big Joanie. Early in Frida Kill’s set guitarist Lily Gist declared, “We’re from here. Big Joanie is from across the pond. I’m going to hype them up the whole set!”
Helen Schulman’s Lucky Dogs beguiles readers with its profane bluntness and spellbinding cast as it explores and exposes the misogyny of the Harvey Weinstein trials. Meredith (a fictionalized Rose McGowan) and the victim of Weinstein (“The Rug,”) writes that during the assault, The Rug’s “pubes got in my mouth. I felt that hair on my tongue for like the next six weeks.” Schulman’s instinct to revel in irreverence is part of what makes Lucky Dogs an electrifying read.
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.
We were recently conversing with a writer about their new book for an interview to run on this very site when they noted — very aptly — that time seems to be especially accelerated this year. Or, to phrase it a bit differently: how exactly is it September already? At least one of the people involved with running this site is still pretty sure it’s still 2022. It’s baffling. Anyway, here are some books due out this month. We’re pretty excited to read them.
We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Joshua Mohr’s new novel Farsickness, out now via House of Vlad Press and featuring illustrations by Ava Mohr. It’s described by the publisher as “a surrealist road trip story, part Heart of Darkness and part bipolar Guardians of the Galaxy.” Mohr’s work has already spanned the realistic and the surreal, and we’re eager to read this new foray into uncharted terrain.
Like the anthology itself, this interview came about because of a spontaneous interaction on the platform formerly known as Twitter. I’d been aware of some of Aaron Burch’s (many, frighteningly many) other projects, but really didn’t know all that much about him. I was following him on Twitter, though, and upon its publication I saw the skull on the cover of How to Write a Novel: An Anthology of 21 Craft Essays About Writing, None of Which Ever Mention Writing next to a screenshot of the tweets that prompted the more formal beginning of the project. Spurred on by the jovial, friendly, and slightly left field vibes of the discussion on the original thread and in the replies on the publication post, I replied (out of left field) as well, and asked Aaron if he wanted to do an interview about the new anthology. And so we did an interview.
Ben Purkert makes the path from poet to novelist look easy with his debut The Men Can’t Be Saved, which is funny and sharp as hell. Purkert has managed to take a poet’s eye to the worlds of branding and labor, creating a hilarious book filled with beautiful sentences and profound ideas.
We caught up over the phone to discuss finding room for comedy in serious literature, the use of metaphor in the novel, and the original NC-17 B.C. shock poet himself, Catullus.
There’s a point early on in M.S. Coe’s new novel The Formation of Calcium when it becomes clear that this is no ordinary tale of small-town anomie. Narrator Mary Ellen, a woman in her fifties who’s increasingly frustrated by her marriage, takes rather extreme measures to resolve things, and then sets out for a new life in Florida. Things do not go according to plan, and Coe’s novel gradually becomes both the story of a woman improvising her way into a new life and an off-kilter take on true crime. I’d enjoyed Coe’s previous novel quite a lot, and this new one left me further impressed by her range; I chatted with her on its genesis, its evolution, and the Florida of it all.