In our weekend reading: why you should be reading Jean de La Ville de Mirmont, new writing from Soraya Roberts and Angela Woodward, and more.
Risto— Aristofano Al’Kair— is a rarity in contemporary Italy, an immigrant success story out of Africa. Born in Mogadishu, he’s earned Italian citizenship and lives in Naples with a wife native to the city, and here he runs a successful art gallery in a good neighborhood. Here near the novel’s start, a couple of disturbing developments have left Risto unsettled, heading on foot up from downtown to a sketchier neighborhood, home to his distant relative Eftah. This older immigrant is gay and has shakier legal standing, in Italy, yet has made a home and remains Risto’s closest thing to family.
Describing David Leo Rice‘s new novel ANGEL HOUSE is the stuff out of which madness arises. There’s a godlike being answering to mysterious, ominous superiors; there’s a town created spontaneously from a blank landscape; there’s a running subplot about filmaking; and the lines between consciousnesses occasionally blur. (I should mention here that I’m not entirely unbiased regarding ANGEL HOUSE, by which I mean that I blurbed this book.) Rice has created something here that conjures up memories of the works of Julio Cortazár and Michael Cisco: it’s primally unsettling and unnervingly compelling. I asked him some questions about it on the eve of its release this week.
Today, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from Gregory Spatz’s new book What Could Be Saved: Bookmatched Novellas and Stories, a collection in which violins play a significant role. (When he’s not writing, Spatz is also an accomplished musician.) In her review of the book for NPR, Martha Anne Toll writes, “What Could Be Saved is for readers who love being immersed in the minutiae of a world they would not otherwise enter.” And it comes complete with a blurb from Paul Harding, who knows a thing or two about good writing.
Cody Goodfellow’s sprawling novel Unamerica is a heady, indescribable work of fiction. It’s literally a cult novel: Unamerica focuses on the conflict between two warring factions within a massive underground city located on the border between the United States and Mexico. It’s a surreal place abounding with strange subcultures, corporate overlords, and weird drugs. And, despite this novel’s size, it never lags: visions, violence, and a pervasive sense of danger are constants across the narrative. I talked with Goodfellow about the novel’s genesis and its overlap with the current state of American politics.
We’re pleased to present an excerpt from David Huddle’s novel Hazel today. Huddle’s novel follows the story of a man reconstructing the life of his aunt. To quote the novel’s publisher, “What emerges, through found documents, photographs, interviews, and a sequence of narratives, is a moving story of his aunt’s long, paradoxical, Vermont life.”
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.
Weekend Bites: Nicole Dennis-Benn, Kieron Gillen Interviewed, Writing Routines, Caleb Michael Sarvis, and More
In our weekend reading: interviews with Nicole Dennis-Benn and Kieron Gillen, thoughts on daily writing routines, and more.