For some years, I’ve been at work on an outrageously long novel. It’s had various tentative titles over the years, and most recently it’s called The Echoes. Over at Word Riot, they’ve been good enough to publish a brief selection. Take a look here.
The TV had been blaring when she had darted out in the afternoon’s customary haste, ever late, and it still was now, how many hours later, tubing, as always, the Rev Boone Slaughter of the Church of Our Lord of Higher Necessity on one his 24 hour-plus marathons. “Duane’s dark angel” (Pin). Someday soon, the Rev declared, on what day he could not clearly foresee, but that it was written in the Book of Habakkuk, the eighth among the Prophets, if one employed a certain code developed by Al Kinditoy, that wily blind hermaphrodite sage of 16th century Andalusia, that a plague was coming upon the land and soon all would be crying into their pretty little ceramic espresso cups, the ones he found such darling temptresses in the European films of his misspent youth. She turned the volume down and left the picture on, where Slaughter in white robes and Santa Claus beard elucidated his findings through full-color overhead projections, and showered and changed into jammies. She watched the building of the Pyramids, then their cross-sections, then diagrams of their ratios, then a velvet haloed portrait of Al Kinditoy, who from his looks could well have been Slaughter’s lost cousin, then, as the station identification letters KRUT came on the screen, poured herself a gin and tonic, sliced a lime and dropped it in using a hairpin as stirrer, then recalled: the summer reading Moby Dick while her boyfriend, Serge Yavlinsky, increasingly disengaged himself over what he said was the erotic charge she received when learning of the processes of lamp oil production and wondered: Was that what was happening? Was Duane, at this moment, slipping into the icy void, had he moved from cool to cold so fast, did Slaughter’s mesmerism, his brilliant crazy surface, mean more to Duane than she’d ever done?
Very happy to report that my story The “Lost” Chapter of John Jourdain will appear in the upcoming Fall issue of Conjunctions.
Over at The Story Prize blog, I have a guest post up. Check it out here.
In presenting deeply conflicted characters, and sometimes unpleasant characters, I guess, in hindsight, I was looking for ways to broaden the emotional landscape of much of so-called contemporary Indian American fiction—though perhaps more accurately I was reacting to what felt like a strangled emotional territory. And also to make, in my own small way, a larger claim on the universality of experience, and that it doesn’t have to born out of exhausted tropes— the newly arrived immigrant, the clash of cultures, the relatively narrow emotional bandwidth of adapting to American middle class life.
Launch of The Happy Hypocrite – Freedom, Issue 6
edited by Lynne Tillman
21 September 2013, 7.00pm onwards
55 Walker Street
Yasmine El Rashidi
Ranbir Singh Sidhu
Robin Coste Lewis
Followed by a discussion with Lynne Tillman and participants.
To purchase this title please visit the Book Works website.
This new issue of The Happy Hypocrite challenges the restraining notions found in art and writing about who and what can and cannot speak. What can and cannot be said or thought. In part a response to Kafka – to that which we don’t know has damaged us – freedom is presented as an important and urgent concept, and a complicated word, in which and beside which hypocrisy also resides. (Hypocrisy can be construed as a freedom). The Happy Hypocrite offers its pages to ingenious fictional, nonfictional, and visual responses to the various meanings of ‘freedom’.
Contributions from Gregg Bordowitz, Paul Chan, Gabriel Coxhead, Lydia Davis, Yasmine El Rashidi, Chloé Cooper Jones, James Jennings, Allison Katz, Robin Coste Lewis, Craig Owens, Sarah Resnick, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Abdellah Taïa, an interview between Lynne Tillman and Thomas Keenan, a cover by Susan Hiller, and archival material from Paranoids Anonymous Newsletter.