I’ve met Lindsay a couple times, starting with an event at Quickies! Chicago where I was thrilled to read with a ton of talented people. I was blown away by Amelia Gray, Blake Butler, Jac Jemc, and of course, Lindsay herself. It’s not surprising that I’ve become a big fan of her work. I’ve come to expect the unexpected from her. She has no fear when it comes to short stories that deal with sex, violence, loss, love, hope, and the drama and tension that exist in dysfunctional families and relationships. My full review of Daddy’s (Featherproof) is now up at The Nervous Breakdown, so go check it out. This is one of my favorite collections of the year, and Lindsay Hunter is a voice to watch. Now hop to it, people.
In addition to doing book reviews at The Nervous Breakdown, I’ll also be doing interviews. My first is with one of my favorite authors, Amelia Gray. I hate to even limit her by calling her a small press darling (in the vein of Parker Posey, indie film darling) as she is a voice to be reckoned with, and I’m sure the small presses will only hold on to her for as long as they can, until the bigger presses come calling. Harper Perennial, are you paying attention?
Instead of doing the standard interview, asking about her latest projects and what her process is, I went over her first two books, AM/PM (Featherproof) and Museum of the Weird (FC2), reminisced about the times I’ve seen her read live at various AWPs and other outings, and generally prompted her with whatever authors, presses, and eccentricities I could think of.
So, go check out the review up at The Nervous Breakdown, pick up copies of AM/PM and Museum of the Weird, and track her at Twitter and her blog. She’s one of the most compelling voices out there right now – hilarious, disturbing, emotional, surreal, heartbreaking, grounded, alluring and smart.
I’m going to be doing some book reviews for The Nervous Breakdown, and I’m really stoked about that. I’m going to be focusing on small presses and the genre/lit benders. I’m also thrilled to be working with Shya Scanlon, a really talented author I first heard of with his online serial Forecast 42, which will be out by Flatmancrooked as Forecast later this year. We have similar tastes and I know we’ll get some much needed attention to some gifted authors, presses and journals.
My first review is now live for the fantastic dark collection of shorts The Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall, winner of the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her novella included in this book “All the Day’s Sad Stories” was the winner of the 2008 Caketrain Chapbook Competition, selected by Brian Evenson.
What’s next after this you ask?
Next will be an interview with Amelia Gray, up soon, 101 Prompts covering her career, books, and various eccentricities. After that: Avian Gospels by Adam Novy (Hobart: Short Flight/Long Drive), then Daddy’s (Featherproof) by Lindsay Hunter, followed by The Wilding (Graywolf) by Benjamin Percy then probably this great new press, Dark Sky Books and Cut Through the Bone by Ethel Rohan. So keep your eyes and ears open.
There’s so much great fiction out there.
So last night I fought traffic for an hour and a half to just barely get down to the SCORCH ATLAS book release by Blake Butler and Featherproof Books on time.
It was at No Coast Collective @1500 W. 17th St, Chicago so if you’re in the Pilsen area, check them out. I love Pilsen, they have a great arts fair in the fall. Lots of great books, posters, and music, tons of handmade stuff, very cool. Reminds me a bit of Quimby’s in Wicker Park.
Zach Dodson is the co-publisher/CD at Featherproof, he mcd the event, nice guy, I got to chat with him a bit about Featherproof and what they’re doing. I’ll send them my novel(s) when they open up again. He mentioned they’d like to get into some noir, so that’s cool.
Kathryn Regina started us off with some excellent poetry, a bit of the surreal and magical realism, involving a woman eating a car, eating pennies, good stuff. We chatted a bit before the show, very nice, quiet. So I knew her work would be some strange stuff. It’s always the quiet ones.
Sam Pink was next. Very funny, cool stuff. He’s a big guy with a shaved head, but really nice. Put a nice dent in the case of PBR, him and BB. He read off the back of a movie box, Lionheart I think, JVCD…duh. His work is really funny and strange. His book I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT looks great, go buy it.
Amelia Gray flew up from Austin to read. She might have been my favorite of the evening. She read a new story, I canNOT remember the title, about hand jobs and a Chevy IROC, a guy named Carl (two actually) it was hilarious and dirty, good stuff. Had a nice chat with her after, bought a copy of AM/PM. Go get it. Yes Nik, she remembers you from Baltimore. She has a weakness for guys named Nik.
Blake Butler read some wild stuff. I didn’t know he was so dark! He read an excerpt from SCORCH ATLAS of course, which I bought. Something about a baby with mold dying and then a new baby a GIANT baby in the attic, it was very surreal. I liked it a lot, very tactile and rich. Got to talk with him before about his books deal and the state of various presses and the industry. Very nice guy.
Sorry I had to hop in the car back to the burbs right after, as Tiger Bones was sounding really good, lots of bass.
Great time, lots of fantastic writing. I’ll see most of these guys again tonight at the Quickies! FUNdraiser where I’ll be reading as well, at the Innertown Pub @ 1935 W. Thomas in Wicker Park. If you’re in Chicago, come on by.
LINKS to authors and presses over there on the blogroll.