Peter Straub, Benjamin Hale, Alexandra Kleeman, and Tim Horvath Read from their Stories in Conjunctions:56, Terra Incognita: The Voyage Issue, with emcee Susan Daitch Friday, May 20, 7 p.m., 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York
On Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m., the literary journal Conjunctions will celebrate the release of its Spring 2011 issue with a special reading at BookCourt, 163 Court Street. Peter Straub (Black House, Mr. X, Koko, Ghost Story), Benjamin Hale (The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore), Alexandra Kleeman (Paris Review, DIAGRAM), and Tim Horvath (Circulation) will read from their stories in Conjunctions:56, Terra Incognita. Emceed by Susan Daitch, this event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. RSVP here.
The Terra Incognita issue of the trail-blazing magazine Conjunctions is dedicated to the act of voyaging. The travelers (or navigators) in its pages include Charles Bernstein, Robert Coover, Kathryn Davis, Howard Norman, James Morrow, Joanna Scott, Cole Swensen, among many others. The issue also features an illustrated excerpt from legendary Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset’s recently completed autobiography.
Salman Rushdie has said, “It’s always a delight to discover a voice as original as Susan Daitch’s,” while David Foster Wallace wrote of Daitch’s Storyland (Dalkey 1996), “This is an important collection by one of the most intelligent and attentive writers at work in the U.S. today.” Her book L.C. (Harcourt 2002) was an NEA Heritage Awardee and a Lannan Foundation Selection and was called “an important book [of] . . . complex novelistic strategies and acute historical imaginings” by the Times Literary Supplement. Daitch’s The Colorist (Knopf 1990) was described as “breathtaking” by the Village Voice, and as “fresh, innovative, and as animated as the comic frames the narrator colors” by Newsday. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times said, “An observant eye … Her vision of New York is one of a cartoon city where anything is possible, where real-life adventures resemble the antic happenings of a comic strip.” Her work was featured in the Summer 1993 “Younger Writers Issue” of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in the Norton Anthology of Postmodern Fiction, Tin House, Guernica, BOMB, McSweeney’s, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. She teaches at Hunter College.
Benjamin Hale’s first novel, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve 2011), lit up the publishing industry upon its release. As Library Journal describes it: “This novel, won in a fierce auction, with foreign rights sold to a half dozen countries, is reportedly big, loud, brassy, contrary, energetic, and just plain awesome … This will get a lot of attention and provoke a lot of conversations come the new year, so be prepared.” But critical praise proved to more than equal the controversy— Publishers Weekly wrote, “An enlightened chimp goes on the wildest adventure since Every Which Way But Loose in Hale’s mischievous debut … [Bruno’s] quest for answers about the agonizing dilemmas of existence … is unexpectedly resonant”; while Booklist concluded, “With its exuberantly detailed sex between species and its concept that human cognizance of death leads to superstition and religion, the novel is likely to offend some readers, while others will find it holds a remarkable, riotous mirror to mankind.”
The Review of Contemporary Fiction called Tim Horvath’s first book, Circulation (sunnyoutside 2011), “perfect for an afternoon of quick rumination,” and the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene wrote, “The casual reader and the bibliophile will love this book. It traces men’s lives through their obsession with books and arcania … Highly recommended.” Magazine publications of Horvath’s work include Fiction and Everyday Genius.
Alexandra Kleeman recently began an MFA at Columbia University after time spent studying cognitive science and experimental poetics at the University of California at Berkeley. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, and her debut fiction “Fairy Tale” opened the winter issue of the Paris Review and was the subject of an interview with Kleeman at the Paris Review Daily.
Horror master Peter Straub’s most recent book is A Dark Matter (Doubleday 2010). He has won the British Fantasy Award, two Bram Stoker awards, and two World Fantasy awards. With Stephen King, he coauthored two novels: The Talisman and Black House. Independently, Straub is the author of seventeen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty foreign languages. Among these is Ghost Story (Coward, McCann and Geoghegan 1979), which elicited warnings from the Chicago Sun-Times (“The scariest book I’ve ever read … It crawls under your skin and into your dreams”) and Stephen King (“The terror just mounts and mounts”). Other titles include The Throat, narrated for audio book by William H. Macy (Simon & Schuster abridged ed. 1993); and Lost Boy Lost Girl (Random House 2003), published to resounding critical praise. Booklist raved, “ This is the great novel of the supernatural Straub has always had it in him to write, one as beautiful, moving, and spiritually rich as the best stories in his dazzling collections Houses Without Doors and Magic Terror.” Publishers Weekly agreed: “For its high artistry and uncanny mix of dread and hope, Straub’s sixteenth novel … reaffirms the author’s standing as the most literate and, with his occasional coauthor Stephen King, most persuasive of contemporary novelists of the dark fantastic. [In] a brilliant variation on the haunted house tale, … with great compassion and in prose as supple as mink, Straub has created an exciting, fearful, wondrous tale.”