Tagged: Fiction

That Day: On Vince Passaro’s *Crazy Sorrow*

“’The day America’s ticker stopped.’ The image suggests a middle-aged man whose experiences have caught up with him. In the nation’s case, that experience includes the economic and military horror it has inflicted on much of the world…”

-from my review of Vince Passaro’s Crazy Sorrow in @lareviewofbooks

An Interview About a Translingual Novel

“Even though the novel is mostly presented in English, I kept returning to the question: what’s the linguistic background of this book? I’m thinking of your original question here—if this book is a translation, what would the original language of this book have been?” –an interview in Fiction Writers Review

The cover of Two Big Differences

Rachel Kushner on Radicalizing the Novel

“But now that I think of it, there’s a joke in [Anna] about bourgeois art. This girl yells that she’s gonna make a painting and ‘sell it to Agnelli’ — the head of Fiat and literally the richest man in Italy — “for one million.” Even if this girl is ridiculing art, she’s ridiculing its monetization and not creativity itself, which, as you suggest, was a major component and outlet of expression of the Movement of ’77. They called it “l’arte dell’impegno” — the art of commitment. And in terms of counterculture, the ’70s in Italy wasn’t good communists wanting to renegotiate their labor contracts so they can go home to have lunch with their wives. These are people who are rejecting the entire logic of work, the whole order of society, and the space of rejection was filled with creativity and new kinds of expressions — I mean new to that era.”

Here’s the interview.

Two Big Differences: Baruch English Reading

Two Big Differences presented by Seth Graves, Evan G. Smith, and Ian Ross Singleton

My colleagues and good friends gave their takes on the novel. It was so good to hear that what I hope to do with this work has come true to an extent. Thank you, Seth and Evan!

Reading at Baruch College

I am very pleased to be reading from Two Big Differences at Baruch College, where I teach First-Year Writing. Please join me on November 3rd at 7PM on Zoom. My colleagues in English Seth Graves and Evan Smith will be joining me.

As an adjunct, I don’t take this institutional validation lightly. I know many adjuncts who are artists in addition to their teaching. I want to dedicate this reading to adjuncts who work so hard for, well, what I think of as low wages. Some of us are even Guggenheim fellows. Please don’t ignore the adjuncts.

Please register for this Zoom reading.

Amazon and Publishing

Friends have asked me about getting a copy of my book while avoiding Amazon. I also have an Amazon ban. And I support the rights of Amazon workers to unionize.

On the other hand, I acknowledge that Amazon is printing and distributing my book. It’s what the publisher, MGraphics, used for this purpose. And I must admit that this model is much better and allows for a book to be published and sell without having to fit the strictures of a dying business model, one that requires publishers to choose books that will sell vast amounts only instead of, well, simply propagating art, perhaps not as popular as Fifty Shades…but culturally valuable for sure. We Americans, with our ideas about freedom ever to make a buck, sometimes forget about the social and cultural responsibility of publishers, especially corporate ones, “major” publishers. Perhaps we forgive them more than Amazon since what they do seems more innocuous.

An example of a publishing company with which I would have published is Simon & Schuster. I’ve reviewed books they’ve published. I have a sense of what’s in their catalog. However, I would be disappointed that they are publishing the memoir of who I think will become known as one of history’s worst enablers, Mike Pence. If we’re going to hold Amazon accountable for how they affect the various industries in which they’re involved, shouldn’t we hold publishers accountable for the cultural effect of their products as well? I would, nonetheless and with my desire to do so, still publish with Simon & Schuster. But I don’t think of them as more “ethical” than Amazon at this point.

Not with S&S, but I did have a choice. I published with MGraphics. And Amazon prints and distributes my book. However, if somebody is still not sympathetic with the awkward position I’m describing here and still wants to get my book, please get in touch with me. We can work something out.