What is a Real Substitute For Blood?: An Interview with Patty Yumi Cottrell
Patty Yumi Cottrell’s debut novel is Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, an “anti-memoir” about Helen Moran, a thirty-two year old adopted Korean woman who has to return to Milwaukee to investigate the sudden death of her fellow adopted Korean brother. It’s a weird little stall because the lurch of Helen’s brother’s death will get you to turn the page, but there are so many things that only Helen could say that will make you want to read and re-read them and cut them out and wear them into a suit of koan-like kernels to guide you through your each and every day. Helen drops gems like “the eye is a terrible organ” or “time itself is nothing but a construction to organize and measure flesh decay.” All the while cramming into this claustrophobic home that never really felt like a home with her adoptive white parents who are disappointed when she accidentally kills all the flowers meant for her brother’s funeral. There’s a vision of a balding European man. Books on drawings of trees in the Midwest. The abyss. Chad Lambo, the grief counselor. It’s a weird and dark and funny stroll. It nods to Sheila Heti, Thomas Bernhard, and Miranda July, but is completely of Patty Yumi Cottrell’s own making. After all, in the words of Helen, “everything in the world is a palimpsest, motherfuckers!”
In a sequence of haunted seasons, Tuesday, Hague, and their mother Karen are pained by the aporia of love and death. With powerfully elemental prose, No Other lays bare the mysterious and emotional fate of a small family.
“In Mark Gluth’s beautiful family gothic No Other, the reader encounters a landscape of mood and mystery, burning with a stripped-down pain. Gluth’s sentences devastate in their raw economy, attempting to penetrate the everyday, tracing abbreviated existences struggling to survive through bare seasons.”
– Kate Zambreno, author of Green Girl & Heroines
“In clipped, incantatory verse shined from whorls somewhere between Gummo and As I Lay Dying, Mark Gluth’s No Other invents new ambient psychological terraforma of rare form, a world by turns humid and eerie, nowhere and now, like a blacklight in a locked room.”
– Blake Butler, author of 300,000,000
– William Basinski, composer of The Disintegration Loops
Four pieces from the online scrapbook documenting Mark Gluth’s influences and inspirations while writing the book:
And finally, a note about publishing No Other.
One last thing: This website was very important to me as a person, reader, writer, and publisher. I met many great people through writing for HTMLGiant; I bought and read many great books through reading HTMLGiant; I spoke in a lot of fervent conversations—both online and in person—through caring about HTMLGiant and its myriad ideas and moods. Safe money says that this site continues to be recognized as a weird and fecund little corner of the internet, and a place that was very important to a growing body of literature and its devotees. Thank you, HTMLGiant, and R.I.P.