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Showing posts from June, 2014

Gábor Schein - Péter makes contact with his dead father one last time and conducts a conversation with him that would never have been possible during his lifetime. In his life he was missing the language; in death it is the only thing that can resurrect what never was

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Gábor Schein, Lazarus! Trans. by Ottilie Mulzet, 2010.

excerpts

Lazarus, an unflinching investigation of what it means to be the child of Holocaust survivors in postwar Hungary, is Gábor Schein's second novel.

Will I visit your grave? Is there anything there? If there is, it must be, I believe, something utterly different from what is engraved upon the headstone: may the deceased be tied to the bonds of eternal life. Rather this: totus homo fit excrementum. As all else in self-loathing, you hurried this up, making it happen while you were still alive.


Gábor Schein has a miracle occur in his novel. Péter makes contact with his dead father one last time and conducts a conversation with him that would never have been possible during his lifetime. In his life he was missing the language; in death it is the only thing that can resurrect what never was. There is a story to tell and questions to answer. In order to accomplish this, Péter writes a book, therefore becoming the author of his o…

Pedro Mairal - the visions of a now dead painter/prophet as seen through the eyes of his grieving son, the narrator: Finding the missing roll was something I needed to do so that my father’s work would not be infinite

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Pedro Mairal, The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra.Trans. by Nick Caistor, New Vessel Press, 2013.

At the age of nine, Juan Salvatierra became mute following a horse riding accident. At twenty, he began secretly painting a series of long rolls of canvas in which he minutely detailed six decades of life in his village on Argentina’s river frontier with Uruguay. After the death of Salvatierra, his sons return to the village from Buenos Aires to deal with their inheritance: a shed packed with painted rolls of canvas stretching over two miles in length and depicting personal and communal history. Museum curators from Europe come calling to acquire this strange, gargantuan artwork. But an essential roll is missing. A search ensues that illuminates the links between art and life, as an intrigue of family secrets buried in the past cast their shadows on the present.
The latest novel from Mairal (Un Noche Con Sabrina Love) reveals through barebones language and startling scenery a son's h…

Sommer Browning - Pain is followed by compassion is followed by laughter, and repeat.

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Sommer Browning, Backup Singers. Birds, LLC, 2014. With BACKUP SINGERS Browning follows up her sold out debut, Either Way I'm Celebrating, with an even rawer and starker, and again darkly humorous navigation of friendship, marriage, and motherhood. The result is a more overtly political assessment of the absurd deficit between what we're confronted with and what we're equipped with to deal with those confrontations: "It's a girl, / and the wires she needs // open her hands / before they're fists."
 Browning combats this deficit with relentless anaphora and repetition, reducing seemingly impossible relationships to their most basic element--a love that begets an unconditional loyalty: "I’m here! I didn’t run!"

From Friend

It was cold. Virginia winter. Throwing lit firecrackers down the hallway. Apostrophes of scorch. The Irishman below us. How I would dress for Third Street Diner. How I told you he spanked me before work.…