by Soft Skull Press

Death by Landscape
Elvia Wilk
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

From the acclaimed author of the novel Oval comes a book of "fan nonfiction" about living and writing in the age of extinction.

In this constellation of essays, Elvia Wilk asks what kinds of narratives will help us rethink our human perspective toward Earth. The book begins as an exploration of the role of fiction today and becomes a deep interrogation of the writing process and the self.  

Wilk examines creative works across time and genre in order to break down binaries between dystopia and utopia, real and imagined, self and world. She makes connections between works by such wide-ranging writers as Mark Fisher, Karen Russell, Han Kang, Doris Lessing, Anne Carson, Octavia E. Butler, Michelle Tea, Helen Phillips, Kathe Koja, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, and Hildegard von Bingen.  

What happens when research becomes personal, when the observer breaks through the glass? Through the eye of the fan, this collection delves into literal and literary world-building projects--medieval monasteries, solarpunk futures, vampire role plays, environments devoid of humans--bridging the micro and the macro and revealing how our relationship to narrative shapes our relationships to the natural world and to one another.

Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence
Lynn Tillman
Soft Skull Press - 23.00€ -

When a mother’s unusual health condition, normal pressure hydrocephalus, renders her entirely dependent on you, your sisters, caregivers, and companions, the unthinkable becomes daily life. In MOTHERCARE, Tillman describes doing what seems impossible: handling her mother as if she were a child and coping with a longtime ambivalence toward her.

In Tillman’s celebrated style and as a “rich noticer of strange things” (Colm Tóibín), she describes, without flinching, the unexpected, heartbreaking, and anxious eleven years of caring for a sick parent.

MOTHERCARE is both a cautionary tale and sympathetic guidance for anyone who suddenly becomes a caregiver. This story may be helpful, informative, consoling, or upsetting, but it never fails to underscore how impossible it is to get the job done completely right.

American Genius, A Comedy
Lynne Tillman
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -

Grand and minute, elegiac and hilarious, Lynne Tillman expands the possibilities of the American novel in this dazzling read about a former historian ruminating on her own life and the lives of others--named a best book of the century by Vulture. 

In the hypnotic, masterful American Genius, A Comedy, a former historian spending time in a residential home, mental institute, artist's colony, or sanitarium, is spinning tales of her life and ruminating on her many and varied preoccupations: chair design, textiles, pet deaths, family trauma, a lost brother, the Manson family, the Zulu alphabet, loneliness, memory, and sensitive skin--and what "sensitivity" means in our culture and society.  

Showing what might happen if Jane Austen were writing in 21st-century America, Tillman fashions a microcosm of American democracy: a scholarly colony functioning like Melville's Pequod. All this is folded into the narrator's memories and emotional life, culminating in a seance that may offer escape and transcendence--or perhaps nothing at all. This new edition of a contemporary classic features an introduction by novelist Lucy Ives.

Lynne Tillman is a novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic. Her novels are Haunted Houses; Motion Sickness; Cast in Doubt; No Lease on Life, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; American Genius, A Comedy; and Men and Apparitions. Her nonfiction books include The Velvet Years: Warhol's Factory 1965-1967, with photographs by Stephen Shore; Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co.; and What Would Lynne Tillman Do?, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Her most recent short story collections are Someday This Will Be Funny and The Complete Madame Realism. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writing Fellowship. Tillman is Professor/Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at The University of Albany and teaches at the School of Visual Arts' Art Criticism and Writing MFA Program in New York. She lives in Manhattan with bass player David Hofstra.

Published 2019.

Cosmogony
Lucy Ives
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

An energetic, witty collection of stories where the supernatural meets the anomalies of everyday life, deception, infidelity, lost cats, cute memes, amateur pornography, and more.

There are analogies between being female and being left-handed, I think, or being an animal.

A woman answers a Craigslist ad (to write erotic diaries for money). A woman walks onto a tennis court (from her home at the bottom of the ocean). A woman goes to the supermarket and meets a friend's husband (who happens to be an immortal demon). A woman goes for a run (and accidentally time travels).

Cosmogony takes accounts of so-called normal life and mines them for inconsistencies, deceptions, and delights. Incorporating a virtuosic range of styles and genres (Wikipedia entry, phone call, physics equation, encounters with the supernatural), these stories reveal how the narratives we tell ourselves and believe are inevitably constructed, offering a glimpse of the structures that underlie and apparently determine human existence.

Hotel Theory
Wayne Koestenbaum
Soft Skull Press - 17.50€ -  out of stock

Hotel Theory is two books in one: a meditation on the meaning of hotels, and a dime novel ( Hotel Women) featuring Lana Turner and Liberace. Typical of Wayne Koestenbaum's invigoratingly inventive style, the two books -- one fiction, one nonfiction -- run concurrently, in twin columns, and the articles "a," "an," and "the" never appear. The nonfiction ruminations on hotels are divided into eight dossiers, composed of short takes on the presence of hotels in the author's dreams as well as in literature, film, and history. Guest stars include everyone from Oscar Wilde to Marilyn Monroe. Hotel Theory gives (divided) voice to an aesthetic of hyperaesthesia, of yearning. It is an oblique manifesto, the place where writing disappears. A new mode of theorizing -- in fiction, in fragment, through quotation and palimpsest -- arises in this dazzling work.

Exquisite Mariposa
Fiona Alison Duncan
Soft Skull Press - 15.00€ -  out of stock

In the aftermath of a reality TV deal gone wrong, Fiona Alison Duncan asks the question, Can you rewrite your life? The answer, her debut novel Exquisite Mariposa, follows a cast of housemates as they navigate questions of art making and economies, breakups and breakdowns, and the internet and its many obsessions.

Given the initials F.A.D. at birth, Fiona Alison Duncan has always had an eye for observing the trends around her. But after years of looking for answers in books and astrological charts and working as a celebrity journalist to make rent, Fiona discovers another way of existing: in the Real, a phenomenological state few humans live in. Fiona's journey to the Real takes her to Koreatown, Los Angeles, where she sublets a room in La Mariposa. There, in the aftermath of a reality TV deal gone wrong, Fiona asks the question, Can you rewrite your life? The answer, her debut novel, Exquisite Mariposa, follows a cast of friends and lovers as they navigate questions of art making and economies, breakups and breakdowns, and the Internet and its many obsessions.

Fiona Alison Duncan is a Canadian American artist, writer, and organizer. She's the founding host of Hard to Read, a lit series, and Pillow Talk, community organizing on sex, love, and communication. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Published 2019

Broken Glass
Alain Mabanckou
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

In Republic of the Congo, in the town of Trois-Cents, in a bar called Credit Gone West, a former schoolteacher known as Broken Glass drinks red wine and records the stories of the bar and its regulars, including Stubborn Snail, the owner, who must battle church people, ex-alcoholics, tribal leaders, and thugs set on destroying him and his business; the Printer, who had his respectable life in France ruined by a white woman, his wife; Robinette, who could outdrink and outpiss any man until a skinny-legged stranger challenged her reign; and Broken Glass himself, whose own tale involves as much heartbreak, squalor, disappointment, and delusion. A brand-new edition of an irreverent, allusive, scatalogical, tragicomic masterpiece from one of our greatest living Francophone writers.

Alain Mabanckou is a novelist, journalist, poet, and academic. A French citizen born in Republic of the Congo, he currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature and creative writing at UCLA. His books include African Psycho, Letter to Jimmy, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty, The Lights of Pointe-Noire, and Black Moses. Mabanckou has twice been a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, in 2015 and 2017.

Figure It Out
Wayne Koestenbaum
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

'Toward what goal do I aspire, ever, but collision? Always accident, concussion, bodies butting together. By collision I also mean metaphor and metonymy: operations of slide and slip and transfuse.' In his new nonfiction collection, poet, artist, critic, novelist, and performer Wayne Koestenbaum enacts twenty-six ecstatic collisions between his mind and the world. A subway passenger's leather bracelet prompts musings on the German word for stranger; Montaigne leads to the memory of a fourth-grade friend's stinky feet.

Koestenbaum dreams about a hand job from John Ashbery, swims next to Nicole Kidman, reclaims Robert Rauschenberg's squeegee, and apotheosizes Marguerite Duras as a destroyer of sentences. He directly proposes assignments to readers: Buy a one-dollar cactus, and start anthropomorphizing it. Call it Sabrina. Describe an ungenerous or unkind act you have committed. Find in every orgasm an encyclopedic richness. Reimagine doing the laundry as having an orgasm, and reinterpret orgasm as not a tiny experience, temporally limited, occurring in a single human body, but as an experience that somehow touches on all of human history. Figure It Out is both a guidebook for, and the embodiment of, the practices of pleasure, attentiveness, art, and play. 

May 2020

Loudermilk
Lucy Ives
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

A tale of two idiots--the handsome, charismatic Troy Augustus Loudermilk and his unassuming, socially anxious friend Harry Rego--who, in the early days of the new millennium, scam their way into a fellowship at the most prestigious creative writing program in the country.

"It's the end of summer, 2003. George W. Bush has recently declared the mission in Iraq accomplished and the unemployment rate is at its highest level in years. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Midwest, Troy Augustus Loudermilk (fair-haired, statuesque, charismatic) and his companion Harry Rego (definitely none of those things) step out of a silver Land Cruiser and onto the campus of The Seminars, America's most prestigious creative writing program, to which Loudermilk has recently been accepted for his excellence in poetry. However, Loudermilk has never written a poem in his life. For all Troy Loudermilk is--and, in the eyes of his fellow students and instructors, he is many things: a cipher to be solved, a hero to be championed, a rival to be disgraced--a poet he most certainly is not." -- publishers note

Lucy Ives is the author of the novel Impossible Views of the World. Her writing has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, the Baffler, frieze, Granta, Lapham's Quarterly, Vogue, and at newyorker.com. For five years she was an editor with the online magazine Triple Canopy. A graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she holds a PhD in comparative literature from New York University. She currently teaches in the Image Text interdisciplinary MFA program at Ithaca College, as well as at NYU's XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement Master's program. She is the recipient of a 2018 Creative Capital - Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

Something Bright Then Holes
Maggie Nelson
Soft Skull Press - 16.00€ -  out of stock

Before Maggie Nelson's name became synonymous with genre-defying, binary-slaying writing, Something Bright, Then Holes introduced readers to a singular voice in the making: exhilarating, fiercely vulnerable, intellectually curious, and one of a kind. Whether writing from the debris-strewn shores of a contaminated canal or from the hospital room of a friend, Nelson charts each emotional landscape she encounters with unparalleled precision and empathy. Since its publication in 2007, the collection has proven itself to be both a record of a singular vision in the making as well as a timeless meditation on love, loss, and--perhaps most frightening of all--freedom.

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