Posts Tagged ‘donald antrim’

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Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Today seems quiet. Everyone is probably packing?

Threats by Amelia Gray is out, and I can tell you it’ll do to your head/brain/skull all things promised, and more. (I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, borrowed from someone who had borrowed it [now I have my own], but it is available HERE)

Picador has been reprinting the novels of Donald Antrim with new intros: George Saunders (The Verificationist), Jonathan Franzen (The Hundred Brothers), and Jeffrey Eugenides (Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World). Elect Mr. Robinson… will be out this June.

Kaleidoscope is a randomized novella by Jianyu PĂȘn.

Madras Press recently released a special edition of “Stone Animals” by Kelly Link, with illustrations and a letterpressed cover.

The second issue of The Coffin Factory just came out, with work by Aimee Bender, Lydia Davis, Edwidge Danticat, Justin Taylor, Adam Wilson, etc. (more later)

The Guggenheim has digitized many of its (out-of-print) publications.

Redivider FINALLY (yes I’m calling you out) has an updated website with the new issue, featuring the talented Mike Young, Mary Miller, J.A. Tyler, Melissa Broder, etc. The cover is nice:

Some of these things will be available at AWP. Do you think someone will write a blog post soon called “AWP recap?” What if that didn’t happen?

Breakfast Reading….

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Here’s a rumination on pancakes from Donald Antrim’s The Verificationist. The context is that a man is trying to convince his consciousness to fly out of a pancake house but is having trouble separating his mind and body, possibly because he just ate delicious, destructive pancakes…

We eat pancakes to escape loneliness, yet within moments we want nothing more than our freedom from ever having so much as thought about pancakes. Nothing can prevent us, after eating pancakes form feeling the most awful regret. After eating pancakes, our great mission in life becomes the repudiation of the pancakes and everything served along with them, the bacon and the syrup and the sausage and coffee and jellies and jams. But these things are beneath mention, compared with the pancakes themselves. It is the pancake– Pancakes! Pancakes!— that we never learn to respect. We promise ourselves that we will know better, next time, than to order pancakes in any size or in any amount. Never again will we we tempted by buckwheat or buttermilk or blueberry flapjacks. However, we fail to learn; and the days go by, two or three weeks pass, then a month, and we forget about pancakes the domination over us. Eventually, we need them. We crawl back to pancakes again and again.

Books I was assigned during my MFA that I actually still like: Donald Antrim

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

antrim

At Bennington, one of the many excellent books that Amy Hempel put on my list for which I am now thankful was Donald Antrim’s ‘Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.’ At the time, I’d already read Antrim’s two other novels, the amazing ‘The Hundred Brothers’ (literally about one hundred brothers at a reunion) and ‘The Verificationist’ (an amazing piece of work, all of which is narrated by a man having an out of body experience at a pancake restaurant), but for some reason I’d skipped the first one. Amy made me go back and read it: it was still her favorite.

Among other things, Antrim’s first novel is a bit more raw around the edges, more wild and fucked and no-world made than the other two (which are both also pretty fucked). For all that there is to admire about the novel, the two things that still stand out most in my mind are among two of the most unusually narratively rendered scenes in contemporary fiction of the past 10 or so years. Antrim has a pretty amazing ability to tell stories that others would write off as ‘bonkers,’ and make them seem not only plausible, but plausible in a way that makes people who hate entirely plausible stories still down and like ‘I’m in.’

More after the jump.

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