Home again, cold again.
Mike Young’s first collection of stories, Look! Look! Feathers, is coming out from Word Riot Press in the Fall of 2010. I’ve read at least 3 of the stories that’ll be in there and many older ones, and they’re all great. This is going to be one to own.
I won a contest over at Big Other. Contestants were invited to write fake bios of the writers of the books they were giving away. My entry was as follows:
Trinie Dalton never had a chance, her poor heart weak-walled from birth. She wrote long books in bed on her desktop computer, keyboard in lap, staring straight out the window. Every half hour, Tina glanced at the monitor to her right to make sure it was still on. It usually was. The author of This Squirrel is Really Up to Something, Dolly Tinti slept and slept. The maid snuck Dilly’s hard drives to New York City and the rest, as they say, is as follows: Born in 1984, I wasted how many years praying to Trinity Dalton not knowing her claim to answer prayers was just the title of her 12th book. Who could fault Tiny Delton, though, with her itty deltoids that she swore would swell up like avocados after track practice but only she could tell? I’m asking–who? Her heaviest book, Call Me Guacamole Maybe, swept the Nobels. She got season passes to Dulles International and whenever she flew, strong chipper men whisked Duly Tutu past security, laughing nervously at the very idea of a frisk. Put me down, Dolly cried, loud enough to charm us all, too softly to hear.
Mine may or may not have been the only entry in my category, but it won, won, won. Her book, Sweet Tomb, is gorgeous. You can order it and others from Madras Press. I think all the money goes to a charity of the writer’s choice.
I felt sorry for Donald Antrim and all the fans Jack and I were going to pull away from his February 18 UMass reading and got our Green Street reading changed to Wednesday, February 17. You’re welcome, Don.
Uproarious hilarity aside, I would have been pretty disappointed to have missed Antrim’s reading. I just read The Hundred Brothers last week and it was amazing. Solid throughout, but those last 50 pages are killer. It’s the most organically climactic book I’ve read in awhile. The book also takes place in one scene, which makes it the third consecutive one-scene novel I’ve read (first Matchpoint, then Vox). It’s a natural form with a lot of potential. Also seems really hard to pull off. Makes me want to try to write one. Of the three, I think Brothers is the best, but I liked them all.
I also just finished Patrik Ourednik’s Europeana under the heavy recommendation of a number of people, and they’re all right. I don’t know when I last smiled so many times while reading a book. Probably not since Infinite Jest last summer. The story of our last century told in a headrush of convoluted, self-contradictory, self-consciously naive yet all-knowing sentences. It’s political as hell but hard to pin down, avoiding all the pitfalls. It’s billed as fiction, but it’s closer to nonfiction than most nonfiction out there. Here’s hoping Gerald Turner translates something else of his and Dalkey Archive (or someone) has the good sense to print it.