Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bellow short stack

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

with a side of Celine

A few days ago, I finished Charlotte Mandell's French-to-English translation of Mathias Enard's Zone, which has several wonderful references to and anecdotes about Celine, and then, this evening I began Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, and it takes me only to page 19 to find Celine once more:

My other book was Erika Ostrovsky's Celine and His Vision. Celine was a brave French soldier in the First World War--until his skull was cracked. After that he couldn't sleep, and there were noises in his head. He became a doctor, and he treated poor people in the daytime, and he wrote grotesque novels all night. No art is possible without a dance with death, he wrote.

The truth is death, he wrote. I've fought nicely against it as long as I could. . . danced with it, waltzed it around. . . decorated it with streamers, titillated it. . . 

Time obsessed him. Miss Ostrovsky reminded me of the amazing scene in Death on the Installment Plan where Celine wants to stop the bustling of a street crowd. He screams on paper, Make them stop. . . don't let them move anymore at all. . . There, make them freeze. . . once and for all! . . . So that they won't disappear anymore!

*Note: On Monday, between Enard and Vonnegut, I read and enjoyed Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Self-Portrait Abroad.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Model Minority

Mimi Wong's "Model Minority" is now available as a free read at Crab Orchard Review. Once the pdf of the full journal issue loads, scroll down to page 135. 


When war broke out in China, Sanie’s grandparents were forced to flee the province of Hunan. Gong Gong, as Sanie was to have called her mother’s father, came from a well-to-do family. Po Po had worked at a bank—a rare accomplishment for a woman back then and a sign of good education. They would not be able to carry their wealth with them as they ran, and so they buried their gold in hopes of recovering it one day when they could safely return home. They also bid goodbye to the other members of their families, assuring each other they would be reunited in the future. They died without ever setting foot in China again.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zone by Mathias Enard

I've been reading Zone by Mathias Enard, tired sometimes and spacing out, but always some vivid description or series of incisive fused sentences (indeed) lures me back in. I'm experiencing it mainly as anti-war / anti-genocide and with some great literary references and anecdotes. Almost all of these, for better or worse, are to 20th Century European or American literature, but they are some fantastic ones, from Celine to the Beats and beyond.

So I recommend the book. It seems deserving of as many readers as Bolano, Knausgaard, and recent others from Europe whose longer works sold well in the states, yet the poor guy cannot even get a Wikipedia entry going.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Self-publishers only, need apply

Make way for a brick-and-mortar bookstore that only sells books by self-published authors!

Bring your own cushioned chair, brew your own coffee, read self-published fiction, hit the facilities, and, well, skip that, and then every six months, claim a large reserve against royalties or don't send yourself any at all!

It's literary paradise, with no wall of Knausgaard to smile at you on the way out the door.

On the other hand, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King, and Walt Whitman are among famous writers who self-published at least once, if not their entire work.

So feel free to free associate freely, and count the recent story of surveillance planes over Baltimore as proof that the authorities' publishers (read "New York") cannot be trusted. Indeed, they would censor away your very best sentences, so just like countless writers scribbling under the yoke of dictatorship in police states, your self-publication is insurrectionary literature (even if it has zombies in it).

So I'll just drive down to Florida, stroll into the store, and select my contemporary classic from current offerings on the shelf.

Welcome to literature, Gulf Coast!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

editing "Turquoise Truck" for Mendicant Bookworks

I received detailed edits for "Turquoise Truck," a car-lot e-single set to arrive from Mendicant Bookworks this summer, and I hope to return them soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Auggie's Revenge at Beating Windward Press

Beating Windward Press to Publish Alex Kudera’s Tragicomic Novel Illustrating
Precarious Times for College Adjuncts and Contract-Wage America.

APRIL 6, 2015, ORLANDO, FL: As the issue of destitute adjunct professors breaks into the mainstream with articles appearing in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Salon, and The New Republic, Beating Windward is excited to publish Alex Kudera’s second adjunct novel, AUGGIE’S REVENGE this fall.

AUGGIE’S REVENGE is a satiric crime novel packed with small cons, betrayals, vigilante justice, stolen vegetables, and clandestine romance. Michael Vittinger is an adjunct philosophy instructor on his last contract and searching for a life worth living. Disenchanted with academia, he finds himself drifting into late-night supermarket friendship with Auggie, a man on the make, and Jonny November, a one-legged grifter who is Auggie's protector-mentor, of sorts. As the economic recession drags on and the marks dry up, the three plot to murder Auggie's abusive stepfather and divide Auggie’s rightful inheritance among them.

At 75,000 words, AUGGIE’S REVENGE offers a fast-paced thriller while illustrating some of the critical labor issues of the day.

Alex Kudera is a Philadelphia native who teaches contemporary literature at Clemson University in South Carolina. His debut novel, FIGHT FOR YOUR LONG DAY (Atticus Books) won the 2011 Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the Mid-Atlantic Region. Reviews and interviews can be found in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and other locations.

Beating Windward Press is an independent publisher of novels, short story collections, and non-fiction. They are based in Orlando, Florida and produce 4 to 6 titles a year. Their books reflect the individual tastes of the small staff - mostly mainstream fiction with a literary edge. Print books are distributed internationally through Ingram; E-books are distributed in all e-reader formats through VitalSource and Smashwords. Matt Peters established Beating Windward Press in 2011. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.

Visit and/or for updates or find Alex Kudera at #AWP15 Atticus Books Table 1840 from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday where he'll be visiting with Atticus's Dan Cafaro and other talented publishers leading the Indy literary scene.