Showing posts from August, 2017

Judson Hamilton - celebration of the oddball, those who defy the normal way of doing things. Employing a gentle form of surrealism throughout these weird, warped stories, the characters emerge fully-formed, lovable, and flawed

Judson Hamilton, Gross in Feather, Loud in Voice, Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017.

The incantations of tattoos, a child raised in a shopping mall, whale hearts and the whisperings of graffiti - the stories of Judson Hamilton show us both the trials and travails of modern life and the hope that maybe, just maybe, something more lies beneath the surface.

Gross In Feather, Loud In Voice is a brand new short story collection by Judson Hamilton, a Wroclaw-based writer with three chapbooks and a novella already under his belt. Some of the stories in this collection have previously been published in impressive literary journals from across the world, which suits the huge range of geographic settings of the pieces. This is a global work, and Hamilton is clearly a global writer, his stories as comfortable set in the Southern USA, in Central Europe, in the Far East and many other places in between. The collection evokes very much a whole world, but perhaps not the world in which we live…
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Rodrigo Hasbún - the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl

Rodrigo Hasbún, Affections, Trans. by Sophie Hughes, Pushkin Press, 2016.


'He is not a good writer, thank goodness. He is a great one' - Jonathan Safran Foer

A gripping novel about an unusual family's breakdown, set in 1950s-60s South America
Loosely based on real events, Affections tells the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl family, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once Leni Riefenstahl's famous cameraman and Rommel's 'personal photographer'. Having fled Germany shortly after the country's defeat in the war, the family now lives in Bolivia. However, shortly after their arrival Hans - an enthusiastic adventurer and mountaineer - decides to embark on an expedition in search of Paitití, a legendary Inca city. The failure of their outlandish quest into the depths of the Amazon rainforest proves fateful, initiating the end of a family whose subsequent voyage of discovery ends up eroding everything which once held it together.

Serafinski - an excellent example of taking anarcho-nihilism seriously, as a call to action that has nothing to do with the expectation that we will succeed at making the world better

Serafinski, Blessed is the Flame: An Introduction to Concentration Camp Resistance and Anarcho-Nihilism
read it here

This book, with a name from a poem by a partisan fighter, takes two things that would not necessarily seem to go together, but that, on second thought, are made for each other. An introduction to anarcho-nihilism becomes tales of resistance in the Nazi concentration camps, almost all of which failed (in the sense that the resisters died), and for which there was never much hope that they could do anything but fail, which are then analyzed in light of anarcho-nihilism. This book is an excellent example of taking anarcho-nihilism seriously, as a call to action that has nothing to do with the expectation that we will succeed at making the world better. For those who are confused about anarcho-nihilism, and also for those who use the word nihilism as a trendy way to talk about the same actions that leftists have been doing for decades, this text will be an especially helpful…

Domício Coutinho comically explores Nova Eboracense, Brazilian New York, with its dazzling mix of priests, brothers, nuns, students, church workers, parishioners, city luminaries, and a dog named Duke who wants to become a priest


Kazufumi Shiraishi - Each and every one of us is something like a cancer cell.

Kazufumi Shiraishi, The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside, Trans. by Raj Mahtani, Dalkey Archive Press, 2017.

Naoto Matsubara works in a Tokyo publishing house, though the work doesn’t particularly interest him. What does interest him, we soon discover, is the purpose of life. Naoto ponders the powers of love, attachment, and mutual care by examining closely his own friends and lovers, searching out how exactly his connection to them confers meaning on his life. Along the way, Naoto also draws on the thought of many writers and philosophers, including Tolstoy, Fromm, and Mishima.

The title of this novel, The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside, certainly suggests a seriously damaged narrator, yet Naoto Matsubara comes across as fairly confident -- sure of himself, and not much prone to wobbly vacillating (though he does drink to considerable excess rather regularly). While his actions are often impulsive, there's a sureness to the way he barrels ahead. It's a combination t…