Cristina Rivera-Garza - In this surreal queer novel, a mysterious woman disrupts the unhappy life of a doctor and forces him to confront the hidden depths of his gender identity

Cristina Rivera-Garza, The Iliac Crest, Trans. by Sarah Booker, The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2017.

On a dark and stormy night, two mysterious women invade an unnamed narrator's house, where they proceed to ruthlessly question their host's identity. While the women are strangely intimate--even inventing a secret language--they harass the narrator by repeatedly claiming that they know his greatest secret: that he is, in fact, a woman. As the increasingly frantic protagonist fails to defend his supposed masculinity, he eventually finds himself in a sanatorium. Published for the first time in English, this Gothic tale destabilizes male-female binaries and subverts literary tropes.

The story begins on a dark stormy night when the unnamed protagonist lets a mysterious woman into his house, all while waiting for a different woman, his ex-partner. He soon finds himself in an unexpected circumstance with both women, whose remarkably eerie presence makes him question their real i…

Ella Longpre - a book of common prayer, about the real ways in which we ruin, and what unseen processes are happening when we fall apart, and what happens to language when we do

 Ella Longpre, How to Keep You Alive,Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017.
‘How does one stay alive? This book asks the impossible question of how one maintains a separation between past and present, memory from self, and inheritance from present body. As objects and gestures from various chronologies collapse and conflate, as in dreams, one might then ask, what do our dreams tell us about our lives? Blurring the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction in a way that mirrors the attempt to capture what it is like to survive and to persist, How to Keep You Alive absorbs and sees the world through a lens of violence and trauma while struggling to maintain a present life in a body that continues to resist, to touch, to create rituals, to see, and to render the unseeable visually brilliant so the unsayable becomes a prayer. This book is that prayer.’ — CCM

‘I’ve never read a book like this in my life and I love that so much I could scream. Ella Longpre’s How to Keep You Alive is a genre bomb love le…

Jared Joseph - simultaneously a mystical text, an autofiction driven by Nabokovian madness, the result of a termite artist eating his way through history, a no-holds-barred conceptual hoax, a personal genealogy

Jared Joseph, Drowsy. Drowsy Baby, Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017.

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Jared Joseph’s Drowsy. Drowsy Baby is a book and the translation of a book. It is a scroll named Jenny, after Noah’s unnamed wife, both pictured and absent. Like Edmond Jabès, Yoel Hoffman, and Susan Howe, Jared Joseph viscerally merges questions of linguistic, textual, and memorial representation with the persistent violence of religious narrative, historical trauma, and familial haunting. What emerges is a poetic experiment or examination of God and fragment, a book of poetry insistent on challenging the emotional and formal impacts of a page and a life. Drowsy. Drowsy Baby is a book and the translation of a book. It is a song named Joseph, after an unnamed player piano, both pictured and absent.

While reading Jared Joseph’s book, I wrote to him, The honorable thing to do would be to put quotation marks around the entire text, or like pointing someone in the direction of the nearest cathedral, basilica. I …

Martin MacInnes - offers up 29 explanations as to what happened to Carlos. They range from the possible to the absurd. The last one reads: “Carlos isn’t here. Carlos isn’t gone. This isn’t everything. This is a brief light.”

Martin MacInnes, Infinite GroundAtlantic Books, 2016.

“Stunning—a totally original, surreal mystery shot through with hints of the best of César Aira, Vladimir Nabokov, Angela Carter, and Julio Cortázar. Smart, clever, and honest. I doubt you’ve read anything quite like it.” —Jeff VanderMeer

Carlos has disappeared. A retired inspector takes the case, but what should be a routine investigation becomes something strange, even sinister. As the inspector relives and retraces the missing man's footsteps, the trail leads him away from the city sprawl and deep into the country's rainforest interior, where he encounters both horror and more

On a sweltering summer night at a restaurant in an unnamed Latin American city, a man at a family dinner gets up from the table to go to the restroom . . . and never comes back. He was acting normal, say family members. None of the waiters or other customers saw him leave.
A semi-retired detective takes the case, but w…

'Death: A Graveside Companion' examines a staggering range of cultural attitudes toward death

Death: A Graveside Companion, Joanna Ebenstein, ed., Thames & Hudson, 2017.

The ultimate death compendium, featuring the world’s most extraordinary artistic objects concerned with mortality, together with text by expert contributors
Death is an inevitable fact of life. Throughout the centuries, humanity has sought to understand this sobering thought through art and ritual. The theme of memento mori informs medieval Danse Macabre, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Renaissance paintings of dissected corpses and “anatomical Eves,” Gothic literature, funeral effigies, Halloween, and paintings of the Last Judgment. Deceased ancestors are celebrated in the Mexican Day of the Dead, while the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead to secure their afterlife.

A volume of unprecedented breadth and sinister beauty, Death: A Graveside Companion examines a staggering range of cultural attitudes toward death. The book is organized into themed chapters: The Art of Dying, Examining the Dead, Memorializ…

Richard Makin - Owing much to Nouveau Roman particularity and the decadence of fin-de-siècle prose, privileging arcane objecthood over organized personhood, MOURNING is richly dark and thick with corporeal and writerly materialities

Richard Makin, Work,Great Works, 2003-06.

We're not going to forget it, the opening screen: poultry, jack or tin and paper case, ditto section. You have to move in close to read all this, using negatives, saying what is not—torn in a seacup, eye full of clipse. First the green line. One thing I am certain about: the language filched from passers by. Immaculate simplicity of narrative. It's a method known to stop anything in its tracks. She is born with her head wrapped around a name, a big chunk of it. (Opening moves of St Leonards, Chapter 6)
For the last few years Richard Makin (the "A" seems to be optional) has been publishing in monthly instalments on the Great Works site run by Peter Philpott. Work in Process began publication in 2004. It was supposed to run for a year, but in the event it carried on for more than two, so the complete text runs to 30 parts, separated by photographic images. St Leonards followed immediately and is, as I write, on its seventh instal…