I am a man ‘o the world, and so peruse MAN OF THE WORLD (special 2014 limited edition). Consider Aristotle Onassis’ private yacht, the Christina O, converted from a retired Canadian Navy warship in 1954, with its nine staterooms named for Greek isles, eight varieties of caviar always on board, and lush inner sanctum of a cocktail lounge with bar stools upholstered in minke whale foreskin (though I have no idea what this means). I am a man ‘o the world, and I know what time it is (for I have a Shinola watch). I long, long, long for this world.
appendix 15 (a) on adjectives
Adjectives are the handles of Being. Nouns name the world, adjectives let you get hold of the name and keep it from flying all over your mind like a pre-Socratic explanation of the cosmos. Air, for example, in Proust can be (adjectivally) gummy, flaked, squeezed, frayed, pressed or percolated in Book 1; powdery, crumbling, embalmed, distilled, scattered, liquid or volatilized in Book 2; woven or brittle in Book 3; congealed in Book 4; melted, glazed, unctuous, elastic, fermenting, contracted, distended in Book 5; solidified in Book 6; and there seems to be no air at all in Book 7. I can see very little value in this kind of information, but making such lists is some of the best fun you’ll have once you enter the desert of After Proust.
—Anne Carson, The Albertine Workout.
For readers who love books the way listeners love vinyl: We’ve just received some beautiful vintage original editions of titles by Black Sparrow Press.
A bit of background: John Martin, avant-garde book collector and patron of Charles Bukowski, founded Black Sparrow in 1966, and for thirty-six years sought out the most astounding work of America’s literary outsiders. Writers whose kinship, in the words of David R. Godine, “is with the red blood of Whitman not the blue blood of Longfellow, with the dirty hands of Dreiser not the kid gloves of Edith Wharton. Writers who, on the whole, have looked west, toward the frontier and its promise of wildness, and away from the east, away from ‘civilization’ and its received ideas of excellence and form.” Incredible stuff, indeed.
These books are incredibly special. They are the original publisher’s editions, not reprints, trucked direct from John Martin’s former Santa Rosa warehouse. Most of them are hand-sewn, on creamy, heavy, acid-free paper, with distinctive cover and text designs by Barbara Martin. Most of the books, once they are sold out, will not be reprinted.
Which means it’s now or never.
This Wednesday, June 25th, Boris Fishman takes up temporary residence in our basement. His debut novel, A Replacement Life, is wicked good. Have you ever spun a story for attention? What about for money? What about a Holocaust survival story for reparations money? Because that’s what Fishman’s young Brooklynite protagonist does. I won’t divulge what happens to him, but I’ll confidently claim that this is the most compelling novel about history, memory, and narrative that I’ve read in some time.
The New York Times compares the author to Bellow, Roth, and Shteyngart, and asks: “Is there room in American fiction for another brilliant young émigré writer? There had better be, because here he is.”
Liesl Schillinger will join Mr. Fishman in conversation at 7pm. More details here.
Our Essays Club is digging into Colson Whitehead’s collection, The Colossus of New York. Whitehead revitalizes those details of the city to which your senses have grown dull or your consciousness has learned to tune out. Here he is, for example, on how to tell time underground:
They take turns looking down into the darkness and the platform is a clock: the more people standing dumb, the more time has passed since the last train. The people fall from above into hourglass dunes. Collect like seconds.
The group next meets July 2nd at 7pm, in the Travel Section. More details here.
Tonight at 7pm. Join us for a reading and celebration of Marina Keegan’s work.