Lance Olsen and John Domini Talk About Cities as Fictions, Political Daymares, and Never Being at Home

Domini and Olsen covers

Lance Olsen and John Domini have followed each other’s work for years, sharing an attraction to the edges of the fictional enterprise, to experiment and risk. Olsen has many works of fiction and non-fiction, and his awards include the Guggenheim. Domini too has published widely, in all genres, and won an NEA Fellowship. Both have spent extended time abroad, Olsen in Germany, Domini in Italy. Not till now, however, did they share new titles with similar core concern— namely, a European city going through a radical change.  In Domini’s case, in his novel The Color Inside a Melon, this was contemporary Naples, over a single hectic week. Olsen’s latest, My Red Heaven, considers a June day in Berlin, in 1927. 

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No Ordinary Love: “Estoy Tristeza” by Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz, Reviewed

"Estoy Tristeza" cover

You know this already when you encounter the title (the cover an elegant, minimal design by Patrick Delorey; evocative of modernist flourishes found in municipal buildings throughout Latin America and the Caribbean); Estoy Tristeza’s grammar is both disjointed and highly conscious, it takes the verb ser, which signals impermanence, in place of the prescribed sentir or tener, which would have the subject possess tristeza rather than be it. This grammatically estranged reconstruction amplifies the phrase, compels the reader to consider the ways that sadness courses through us. The poet’s first gesture asserts a stability in her unmooring; a grace in her own winding path, and this is how we begin, in a state.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Chris Campanioni

Chris Campanioni

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.

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Towards a Definition of Ecological Fiction: An Interview With Marian Womack

Marian Womack

My first time reading Marian Womack‘s work came via the collection Lost Objects, an unsettling array of speculative fiction informed by climate change in multiple unsettling ways. (I interviewed her about it in 2018.) This year will see the release of her novel, The Golden Key — but first, Womack has another literary project that she’s ushered into the world, an anthology co-edited with Gary Budden. This is An Invite to Eternity, which includes stories from Kristen Roupenian, Aliya Whiteley, and Naomi Booth. It’s also the first book from Calque Press, a new independent publisher. I talked with Womack about the anthology, the press, and the uncanny boundaries of ecological fiction.

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Chocolate : The Heat of Our Thoughts — An Excerpt From Lance Olsen’s “My Red Heaven”

"My Red Heaven" cover

Lance Olsen’s new novel My Red Heaven follows a host of characters in Berlin over the course of one day in 1927. At times, Olsen’s prose tells of artistic breakthroughs; at others, such as the excerpt featured here, he gradually takes the reader into a more nightmarish space. In the midst of Modernism’s rise, Olsen pays homage to Modernist writing, even as he pushes onwards into haunting historical vistas. My Red Heaven will be released by Dzanc Books on January 21st.

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“I Just Like Creating Art”: An Interview With Troy James Weaver

Troy James Weaver

A Troy James Weaver story reminds me of when I want to eat at a Waffle House, by myself. Or go to DisneyLand, but just to walk around. He depicts the awareness of being alone in a crowded space better than any writer I know. Of the calculated, precise sentences of Édouard Levé or Gary Lutz, but with a humble radiance that seems ready to explode in a vicious hellfire at any moment, Selected Stories is the collection you run looking for because you left it in the corner booth at the 24-hr. diner just before the apocalypse. 

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Sean Beaudoin

Sean Beaudoin

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.

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