1. Have you been dropping by The Litblog Co-op? We’re in the thick of the Summer 2006 selections: White Spirit by Paul Constante (translated by Betsy Wing), Skin by Kellie Wells and Crawl Space by Edie Meidav are being dissected and discussed, with author visits and podcasts abounding. I haven’t opened my mouth there yet, but I’m reading the final selection for Summer 2006, Michael Martone by Michael Martone, and I’ll probably have something to say about it soon.
2. Les Claypool of Primus (not to mention Oysterhead) has written a novel! It’s called South of the Pumphouse, and it’s published by Akashic Books (run by another bass guitarist, Johnny Temple, who has also published other bassists such as Richard Hell in the past). The promo page compares the book to Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, but this excerpt makes the book sound like a Primus song, what with all the Thwaps, Ploinks and pops.
3. I’ve been into J. Robert Lennon ever since he lit up the 2005 American Short Stories collection with his awesome Eight Pieces for the Left Hand. I’m psyched to hear that Harper’s is serializing his newest novel-in-progress, Happyland, and I’m also intrigued to read (in this same GalleyCat article) that some sort of controversy involving Mattel and American Girl dolls caused W. W. Norton to cancel an earlier publication of this book. What does it all mean? I guess I’ll have to hit the newsstand to find out.
4. I snuck a hard-to-find link to TheCherryOrchard.org, my new politically-minded side-blog, onto this site last week. I’ve still barely designed the new place, and I still don’t know what I’m doing there. But I’m starting to get into the spirit, and after several false starts I’ve finally written a post I can stand linking to.
Hey, I’m a bassist!I can
Hey, I’m a bassist!
I can thwap & thump my ass off! I need to talk to Johnny Temple!
A Worthy Small Press NovelI
A Worthy Small Press Novel
I generally am underwhelmed by small press fiction, get bored, and stop reading. Then I came across Kittens in the Boiler, by Delphine LeCompte (Thieves Jargon Press), quite by accident. It’s a raw tour-de-force. Not for the squeamish (but not written to shock). Think Burroughs, Miller, Genet, on crack. It’s wild semi stream-of-consciousness autobiographical fiction that works. Available from Amazon. Disclaimer: I don’t know either Delpine or her publisher and have no interest, financial or otherwise, in the book.
Dan — I reviewed that book
Dan — I reviewed that book here on LitKicks a couple of months ago — have you seen my review? I agree that it was an unusual and worthy book.
HappylandI was staying in
I was staying in Vermont for a week or so, and at the place I was staying, everyone was reading Happyland. They had two issues of Harper’s, so both part I and part II were available. My interest was piqued when people would disappear into the bathroom for hours, with a Harper’s in hand. I decided to give the story a try. I had never read J. Robert Lennon. I had a bit of difficulty adjusting to his style at first, but after the end of the first paragraph I was hooked. I read the story morning and night, whenever I could wrest a copy of the magazine out of someone’s hands.
I won’t give away the plot. As for the Mattel and American Girl controversy, just let me say that the main character of the novel is a woman who makes upscale dolls. The story is full of interesting characters and good descriptions of small-town life. My only regret in reading this serialization was when I got to the end of part II and realized that part III wouldn’t be out until the September issue. It was enough to make me break down and get a subscription to the magazine. I can imagine how the readers of Dickens’ serializations must have felt when, say, Oliver Twist stopped at a crucial moment, to be continued in the next issue.
Happyland – story behind the
Happyland – story behind the story
“Some sort of controversy” – that is destroying my community. The novel is based on American Girl doll creater Pleasant Rowland’s megalomaniacal take-over of a tiny, historic village in upstate NY. Take a look at the website for the Aurora Coalition, Inc. and check over the publicity, etc. Warning: if you care about historic preservation, the pictures may make you cry. The Happyland page details Norton’s reversal on publication. See http://www.AuroraNY.org