The lives of three acquaintances in the fantastical nation of Outer Canthus intertwine through the elaborate fictions they construct, from Emile Delilah, who happily spends his traveling stipend; to Boreal Rince, an exiled king; to Elijah Salamis, a supranationalist dedicated to erasing cultural boundaries.
Author Michael Chabon described Ben Katchor (b. 1951) as "the creator of the last great American comic strip." Katchor's comic strip Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories, which began in 1988, brought him to the attention of the readers of alternative weekly newspapers along with a coterie of artists who have gone on to public acclaim. In the mid-1990s, NPR ran audio versions of several Julius Knipl stories, narrated by Katchor and starring Jerry Stiller in the title role. An early contributor to RAW, Katchor has contributed to Forward, New Yorker, Slate, and weekly newspapers. He edited and published two issues of Picture Story, which featured his own work, with articles and stories by Peter Blegvad, Jerry Moriarty, and Mark Beyer. In addition to being a dramatist, Katchor has been the subject of profiles in the New Yorker, a recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellow at both the American Academy in Berlin and the New York Public Library. Katchor's work is often described as zany or bizarre, and author Douglas Wolk has characterized his work as "one or two notches too far" beyond an absurdist reality. And yet the work resonates with its audience because, as was the case with Knipl's journey through the wilderness of a decaying city, absurdity was only what was usefully available; absurdity was the reality. Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories presaged the themes of Katchor's work: a concern with the past, an interest in the intersection of Jewish identity and a secular commercial culture, and the limits and possibilities of urban life.
'If you loved Under the Tuscan Sun, you’ll love this' Red Magazine Every week on a Thursday evening, a group of four rural Italian women gather in an old stone house in the hills above Italy’s Orvieto. There – along with their friend, Marlena – they cook together, sit down to a beautiful supper, drink their beloved local wines, and talk. Surrounded by candle light, good food and friendship, the four women tell Marlena their evocative life stories, and of cherished ingredients and recipes whose secrets have been passed down through generations.
Obsolescence is fundamental to the experience of modernity, not simply one dimension of an economic system. The contributors to this book investigate obsolescence as a historical phenomenon, an aesthetic practice, and an affective mode.
The Edward Lewis Wallant Award was founded by the family of Dr. Irving and Fran Waltman in 1963 and is supported by the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. It is given annually to an American writer, preferably early in his or her career, whose fiction is considered significant for American Jews. In The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction, editors Victoria Aarons, Avinoam J. Patt, and Mark Shechner, who have all served as judges for the award, present vital, original, and wide-ranging fiction by writers whose work has been considered or selected for the award. The resulting collection highlights the exemplary place of the Wallant Award in Jewish literature. With a mix of stories and novel chapters, The New Diaspora reprints selections of short fiction from such well-known writers as Rebecca Goldstein, Nathan Englander, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, Julie Orringer, and Nicole Krauss. The first half of the anthology presents pieces by winners of the Wallant award, focusing on the best work of recent winners. The New Diaspora’s second half reflects the evolving landscape of American Jewish fiction over the last fifty years, as many authors working in America are not American by birth, and their fiction has become more experimental in nature. Pieces in this section represent authors with roots all over the world—including Russia (Maxim Shrayer, Nadia Kalman, and Lara Vapnyar), Latvia (David Bezmozgis), South Africa (Tony Eprile), Canada (Robert Majzels), and Israel (Avner Mandelman, who now lives in Canada). This collection offers an expanded canon of Jewish writing in North America and foregrounds a vision of its variety, its uniqueness, its cosmopolitanism, and its evolving perspectives on Jewish life. It celebrates the continuing vitality and fresh visions of contemporary Jewish writing, even as it highlights its debt to history and embrace of collective memory. Readers of contemporary American fiction and Jewish cultural history will find The New Diaspora enlightening and deeply engaging.
NOW AN HBO FILM STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND MICHAEL SHANNON Sixty years after its originally publication, Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 stands as a classic of world literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Today its message has grown more relevant than ever before. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Wait finds C. K. Williams by turns ruminative, stalked by "the conscience-beast, who harries me," and "riven by idiot vigor, voracious as the youth I was for whom everything was going too slowly, too slowly." Poems about animals and rural life are set hard by poems about shrapnel in Iraq and sudden desire on the Paris Métro; grateful invocations of Herbert and Hopkins give way to fierce negotiations with the shades of Coleridge, Dostoevsky, and Celan. What the poems share is their setting in the cool, spacious, spotlit, book-lined place that is Williams's consciousness, a place whose workings he has rendered for fifty years with inimitable candor and style.
In these engaging and often gripping short stories, Fred Arroyo takes us into the lives of working-class Hispanic migrants and immigrants, who are often invisible while they work in plain sight across America. As characters intertwine and evolve across stories, Arroyo creates a larger narrative that dramatizes the choices we make to create identity, make meaning, and deal with hardships and loss. His stories are linked by a concern with borders, both real and imagined, and the power that memory and imagination have to shape and structure our lives. Through his characters and their true-to-life situations, Arroyo makes visible both internal and external conflicts that are deeply rooted in—and affected by—place. A bodega, a university town, a factory, a Chicago street, some dusty potato fields: here is where we encounter ordinary people who work, dream, love, and persist in the face of violence, bereavement, disappointment, and loss—particularly the loss of mothers, fathers, and loved ones. Arroyo's characters experience a strange wonder as the midwestern United States increasingly appears to be a place created by the Latinas and Latinos who remain out of the sight and minds of Anglos. In lyrical language weighted by detail, exquisite imagery, and evocative story, Arroyo imagines characters who confront the tattered connections between memory and longing, generations and geographies, place and displacement, as they begin to feel their own longings, "breathing in whatever was offered, feeling, deep in the small and fragile borders of my heart," as one character puts it, "that it came with a sorrow I could never betray."