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Showing posts from July, 2020

Asterisks for Dead Astronauts

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At my author website, I've published an essay titled "Asterisks for Dead Astronauts". It is an exploration of reading, grief, poetry, the end of the world. It began as an essay about Jeff VanderMeer's recent novel Dead Astronauts and then ... sprawled.

The essay has a lot in common with my recent post here on Kate Zambreno's Drifts, and, indeed, the post was deliberately meant as a kind of companion piece. (It doesn't matter the order you read them in, but I do think they benefit from each other.) I'm slowly working toward a new book project called Asterisks. I don't know that the form, shared between the two pieces, will hold for a book-length work, but the general concerns are ones I'm continuing to explore, and the style feels right, and adaptable.

I wrote "Asterisks for Dead Astronauts" last fall, and it has gathered rejections from publishers since December. I'm tired of sending it out, and can't think of another publisher to…

Drifting

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Kate Zambreno's new book, Drifts: A Novel, was written before the novel coronavirus upended the world and forced us all into more limited lives. But it is a book that feels of this time. Not of this time in subject matter, though its questions about how we make meaning and art and life are certainly heightened now. Rather, the book feels of this time in its structure, in its commitment to shards and fragments. 
(Now, as a Nobel laureate once said, everything is broken.)
Zambreno has made something of a career of fragmentation. A glance at her books might suggest monotonous similarity, all those unindented paragraphs separated by blank space. There are similarities, too, across the characters and voices. But each book is quite distinct. Each has a different focus, and they often have a different emotional core, a different sense of the problems or questions that inspired them. Like Jean Rhys, a writer clearly important to her, Zambreno writes books that often feel diaristic, memoiri…