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A startling, shape-shifting book of prose and images that draws on an unexpected pair of inspirations—the poetry of Fernando Pessoa and the history of air disasters—to investigate con men, identity politics, failures of leadership, the privilege of ineptitude, the slave trade, and the nature of consciousness.

Early in 2017, on a plane from Cape Verde to Lisbon, author and visual artist James Hannaham started reading Pessoa & Co., Richard Zenith’s English translation of Fernando Pessoa’s selected poetry. This was two months after Trump’s presidential election; like many people, ideas about unfitness for service and failures of leadership were on his mind. Imagine his consternation upon discovering the first line of the first poem in the book: “I’ve never kept sheep/But it’s as if I did.”

The Portuguese, Hannaham had been musing, were responsible for jump-starting colonialism and the slave trade. Pessoa published one book in Portuguese in his lifetime, Mensagem, which consisted of paeans to European explorers. He also invented about seventy-five alter egos, each with a unique name and style, long before aliases and avatars became a feature of modern culture.

Hannaham felt compelled to engage with Pessoa’s work. Once in Lisbon, he began a practice of reading a poem from Zenith’s anthology and responding in whatever mode seemed to click. Even before his trip, however, he had become fascinated by Air Disasters, a TV show that tells the story of different plane crashes in each of its episodes. These stories—as well as the textures and squares of the city he was visiting—began to resonate with his concerns and Pessoa’s, and make their way into the book.

Through its inspirations and juxtapositions and its agile shifts of voice and form—from meme to fiction to aphorism to screenshot to lyric—the book leads us to reckon with the most universal questions. What is the self? What holds the self—multiple, fragmented, performative, increasingly algorithmically controlled, constantly under threat of death—intact and aloft?

Product Categories: Art, Essays, Forthcoming, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, and Poetry.  Book Author: James Hannaham.

Animated version of the cover of JACKET WEATHER by Mike DeCapite, depicting a sideways skyline of NYC, and the title and author name crumpling into leaflike shapes that blow away

Nick Hornby meets Patti Smith, Mean Streets meets A Visit From the Goon Squad in this quintessential New York City story about two people who knew each other in the downtown music scene in the 1980s, meet again in the present day, and fall in love.

Mike knew June in New York’s downtown music scene in the eighties. Back then, he thought she was “the living night—all the glamour and potential of a New York night when you’re 25.” Now he’s twice divorced and happy to be alone—so happy he’s writing a book about it. Then he meets June again. “And here she was with a raincoat over the back of the chair talking about getting a divorce and saying she’s done with relationships. Her ice-calm eyes are the same, the same her glory of curls.”

Jacket Weather is about awakening to love—dizzying, all-consuming, worldview-shaking love—when it’s least expected. It’s also about remaining alert to today’s pleasures—exploring the city, observing the seasons, listening to the guys at the gym—while time is slipping away. Told in fragments of narrative, reveries, recipes, bits of conversation and snatches of weather, the book collapses a decade in Mike and June’s life and shifts a reader to a glowing nostalgia for the present.

Product Categories: Fiction, Forthcoming, and Literary.  Book Author: Mike DeCapite.

Poems about pop culture, mortality, and the internet, written during the Coronavirus pandemic—for readers who are more likely to double-tap Instapoems than put their phone down long enough to read The Decameron.

Catalyzed by sheltering in place and by a personal challenge to give up alcohol for thirty days, Leigh Stein, the poet laureate of The Bachelor, has written a twenty-first-century Decameron to frame modern fables. What to Miss When makes mischief of reality TV and wellness influencers, juicy thoughtcrimes and love languages, and the mixed messages of contemporary feminism.

“Think Starlight,” the first poem in this collection, written before any self-quarantine orders, imagined the likelihood that the United States would follow in Italy’s footsteps in terms of caseload and hospital overwhelm. By March 17, 2020, the imagined was the real: New York City had closed schools, bars, and restaurants—with the rest of the country close behind.

With nihilist humor and controlled despair, What to Miss When explores fears of death and grocery shopping, stress cleaning and drinking, celebrities behaving badly, everything we took for granted, and life mediated by screens—with dissociation-via-internet, and looking for mirrors in a fourteenth-century pandemic text, a kind of survival response to living casually through catastrophe.

Praise for What to Miss When
Smart, honest, vulnerable, and really really beautiful. It feels like the book for this exact moment.”—Lynn Melnick, author of Landscape with Sex and Violence

A strikingly effective melee of the literary and the very relatable, which is a really difficult balance to nail in trying to represent the pandemic in literary form. Remarkable, skillful, and wonderful.” —Dr. Jo Waugh, Senior Lecturer, English Literature, York St John University

I am so thankful for [Stein’s] brain—and these poems. —Emily Burack, Alma 

“In her dazzling new collection, Leigh Stein has managed to create art from the mess of modern life, with poems both elegiac and flippant in equal measure . . . She manages to imbue each poem with just enough levity to keep the reader from losing hope. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough.” —The Voracious Bibliophile

What To Miss When is hilarious and absolutely horrifying. If you think the quarantine habits you developed are unique and charming, read this book to be put in your place. But I beg of you, gift that to yourself, it’ll make you feel less alone. ‘I’m a feminist, I got the memo,’ is Stein’s perfect disclaimer when shouting the things so many of us are afraid to even whisper. It’s a specific kind of book that helps us remember how things were, that serves as a map for our children to understand why we are the way we are. This book is one of them.” —Olivia Gatwood, author of Life of the Party

“It’s this mischief, Stein’s relentlessly refreshing humor about the ‘new normal’—equal parts rueful self-deprecation and excoriating cultural critique—that makes this book such a worthy artifact of the American experience of the pandemic.” —Jason Koo, founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets

Product Categories: Forthcoming, Poetry, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: Leigh Stein.

A debut collection of poetic, linked essays investigating the past and present state of California, its conflicting histories and their impact on a writer’s family and life.

California has been advertised as a destiny manifested for those ready to pull up their bootstraps and head west across to find wealth on the other side of the Sierra Nevada since the 19th century. Across the seven essays in the debut collection by José Vadi, we hear from the descendants of those not promised that prize. 

INTER STATE explores California through many lenses: an aging obsessed skateboarder; a self-appointed dive bar DJ; a laid-off San Francisco tech worker turned rehired contractor; a grandson of Mexican farmworkers pursuing the crops they tilled.

Amidst wildfires, high speed rail, housing crises, unprecedented wealth and its underlying decay, INTER STATE excavates and roots itself inside those necessary stories and places lost in the ever-changing definitions of a selectively golden state.

Advance praise for Inter State

What distinguishes this tentative newcomer on the West Coast essayist scene? For one, a fresh approach: Vadi’s deepest purpose is to understand and retrace the footsteps of his abuelo, who picked vegetables up and down the Central Valley. He layers this important quest with a tart mixture of originality and devotion, as well as his own lens as an avid urban skateboarder. And finally, Inter State deserves attention for the way it pits Southern California against the Bay — which is always fun… Some of the liveliest writing is fueled by the author’s roots as a skateboarder with a “unique, original, and destructively perceptive eye,” proving that a journey on urethane wheels can be a profound way to consider a city’s architecture… [A] fast, slim, successful addition to the canon of books that get at something essential about a maddening, sprawling, epic state.—Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times

California is a palimpsest; there are cities and stories that were erased to make room for the ones that exist now. Vadi’s dispatches about gentrification sanitizing Oakland, the state’s many unheralded laborers (like the incarcerated men and women who work shoulder-to-shoulder but not dollar-for-dollar with our firefighters), and the tech and population booms reshaping the state, are an attempt to unearth those stories . . . His writing transposes those voices from the margins to center stage by letting them assume their rightful place as co-authors of the story of California . . . Inter State comes alive because of the intimacy Vadi infuses into his archiving . . . Vadi’s meticulous retracing of his family’s footprints across the state—down to the exact placement of the orange tree, chiles and aguacates in his late grandfather’s backyard—is exemplary. —Naomi Elias, KQED

“In this lyrical collection, ethnographer-on-a-skateboard José Vadi uses personal and family history to explore the vicissitudes of California life. Inter State is a soulful chronicle of precariousness in the Golden State—including farm work, tech work, homelessness, gentrification, and wildfires—that also pays homage to the familiar drives, dive bars, and skate spots that will keep its author loyal until death. A rich and moving meditation on the forces that can make us feel displaced even when we know we are at home.” —Nina Renata Aron, author of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls

“This is a must read book, it must be read to yourself, aloud to your friends, and to strangers on the bus. José Vadi’s brilliant collection Inter State maps internal and external geographies of California through lush description and deft analysis. From the Bay Area down through the Central Valley into SoCal this collection showcases a voice keenly aware of how history is alive both in the landscape as well as inside his own writing body.” —sam sax, author of Madness and Bury It

“I wonder if our country had more writers like José Vadi whether we’d be in quite so wretched a state as we are. With wit and rage and love in equal measures, Inter State is an antidote to the persistent mythology of power as character. Vadi claws elbow-deep into the soil to unearth that which has been buried, forced aside, and willfully forgotten. He speaks of family and injustice, of labor camps and tech booms, and after reading this book, it is clear that anyone who writes of California without anger is a liar. I look forward to reading it again.” —Kyle Beachy, author of The Slide: A Novel

“What a pleasure it is to trace the many histories of California as mapped by the reverent and incisive José Vadi. Whether driving through a central state valley, trudging up a San Francisco hill, dodging cops, or just making his way through a decadent museum, each of the routes he winds for us is peppered deliciously with historical, political and familial stories all the while being driven by exquisite and generous prose. All these long and meandering sentences moving languidly like a coastline, like a famous highway, like a grape vine: rippling, bending, cascading like the landscape he is conjuring, making memorials where there are none but where there should be. The writing is candid, colorful, captivating and just like the feeling you get when you’re in California, you want to stay here, on this land and in this language forever. Vadi is the perfect Californian flâneur: well paced, inconspicuously observant, just a little bit legally high and reporting live from his skateboard.” —Lauren Whitehead, Writer. Performer. Assistant Arts Professor of Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

“Cerebral and rich with history and sharp observation, Inter State is a searing love letter to California, a physical and emotional map of the places and people we call home, cities that destroy as well as nourish. With smart prose and daring form, these are perfect essays for our complicated times.” —Melissa Valentine, author of The Names of All the Flowers

Product Categories: Essays, Forthcoming, Memoir, Popular Culture, and Travel.  Book Author: José Vadi.

Gomez’s witty memoir follows a touching and often hilarious spiralic path to embracing his gay, Latinx identity against a culture of machismo—from his uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua to cities across the U.S.—and the bath houses, night clubs, and drag queens who helped him redefine pride.

I’ve always found the definition of machismo to be ironic, considering that pride is a word almost unanimously associated with queer people, the enemy of machistas. In particular, effeminate queer men represent a simultaneous rejection and embrace of masculinity . . . In a world  desperate to erase us, queer Latinx men must find ways to hold onto pride for survival, but excessive male pride is often what we are battling, both in ourselves and in others.

A debut memoir about coming of age as a gay, Latinx man, High-Risk Homosexual opens in the ultimate anti-gay space: Gomez’s uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was sent at thirteen years old to become a man. Readers follow Gomez through the queer spaces where he learned to love being gay and Latinx, including Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor’s office where he was diagnosed a “high-risk homosexual.”

With vulnerability, humor, and quick-witted insights into racial, sexual, familial, and professional power dynamics, Gomez shares a hard-won path to taking pride in the parts of himself he was taught to keep hidden. His story is a scintillating, beautiful reminder of the importance of leaving space for joy.

 

Advance praise for High-Risk Homosexual

“The catalogue page for this debut memoir lists a number of things you can expect to find within the book’s contents. Among them are ‘Maybelline foundation shade: Rich Tan,’ ‘A baby wailing in an ancient Jesuit language,’ and ‘The most famous woman in the world.’ If that doesn’t entice you to read Gomez’s account of figuring out how to embrace his queer identity amid a culture of machismo, I’m not sure what will.” —Keely Weiss, Harper’s Bazaar, A Best LGBT Book of the Year

“Packed with dry wit and searing cultural insight . . . A brilliant and provocative interrogation of sex, gender, race, and love.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Poignant, vivid, and often hilarious, this coming-of-age memoir fearlessly explores intersectional identity and shows what it means to live and love authentically as a gay man today . . . An engagingly candid memoir from a promising young writer.” —Kirkus Reviews

High-Risk Homosexual is a keen and tender exploration of queer identity, masculinity, and belonging. From the cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was taken by his uncles to learn how to be a man, to Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where he witnesses freedom and joy on the dance floor, Edgar Gomez writes with honesty and humor about the difficulty of straddling boundaries and the courage of finding oneself. This book signals the arrival of a major new talent.” —Laila Lalami, author of Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America and The Other Americans

High-Risk Homosexual is an absolute marvel in voice, style, and its raucous, tender, heartbreaking, compassionate, and ultimately triumphant examination of gay spaces, the politics of gender, violence against GLBTQ folks, and, of course, the human heart. Edgar Gomez is an unforgettable writer with enviously fantastic storytelling skills. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll rage, you’ll buy this book for all of your friends.” —Emily Rapp Black, author of Sanctuary and Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg

“Edgar Gomez is the chaotic queer hero we both need and deserve—with humor and charm, he tenderly leads us into night clubs, bathhouses, the backseat of cars with anonymous men, asking us to examine our current place in the world amongst the lonely and brokenhearted, the ones who dare live our truest lives. For anyone whose coming out and coming of age is messy in all the ways, let High-Risk Homosexual be a road map.” —Christopher Gonzalez, author of I’m Not Hungry but I Could Eat

High-Risk Homosexual is a vivacious, compelling, and intimate portrait about queer coming of age and finding oneself. Gomez’s writing has this special way of inviting us in, like an old friend, catching us up to the pains, doldrums, and pleasures of living, reminding us at every turn of the exquisite messiness that is life. This memoir is a sheer delight, and one not to be missed.” —Marcos Gonsalez, author of Pedro’s Theory: Reimagining the Promised Land

High-Risk Homosexual is like a delicious cocktail: sharp, nuanced, sweet and tender when the bite must be tempered. Edgar Gomez writes with the magnetic candor that flourishes at gay bars, with as much style as all the queens at DragCon, with observant eyes well-trained in steamy bathhouses—all of which he sketches in these electric pages. This book parses queer spaces, the queer self, with a heart as intelligent and thoughtful as its author. As he proves in his unapologetic memoir, Gomez is a force to be reckoned with.” —Matt Ortile, author of The Groom Will Keep His Name

“Edgar Gomez has written a memoir that stands out among so many others, with a narrative voice that’s singularly hilarious and observant and unforgettable, so perfectly nuanced with memory and humor in limning the landscapes of love in Florida and Nicaragua. At the center is his mother, a bright vivid burst of fear and tenderness and absolute deephearted love. High-Risk Homosexual presents a brand new voice of impeccable clarity and vision.” —Susan Straight, American Book Award finalist and author of In The Country of Women

“There’s a rhythm to vulnerable, honest writing and Edgar Gomez doesn’t miss a beat in High-Risk Homosexual. His characters—his mother, his friends, his lovers—are his dance partners that he lovingly dips and twirls across the page, their beauty on full display even as he bares their humanity and his own to the audience. This memoir is a master class in humor with warmth, not ridicule, and truth with tenderness, not overexposure. Pick this book up for the laughs, but have your tissue ready for a few tears too.” —Minda Honey, author of An Anthology of Assholes

Product Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Essays, Forthcoming, Memoir, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: Edgar Gomez.

People From My Neighborhood book cover

From the author of the internationally bestselling Strange Weather in Tokyo, a collection of interlinking stories that masterfully blend the mundane and the mythical—“fairy tales in the best Brothers Grimm tradition: naif, magical, and frequently veering into the macabre” (Financial Times).

A bossy child who lives under a white cloth near a t­ree; a schoolgirl who keeps doll’s brains in a desk drawer; an old man with two shadows, one docile and one rebellious; a diplomat no one has ever seen who goes fishing at an artificial lake no one has ever heard of. These are some of the inhabitants of People From My Neighborhood. In their lives, details of the local and everyday—the lunch menu at a tiny drinking place called the Love, the color and shape of the roof of the tax office—slip into accounts of duels, prophetic dreams, revolutions, and visitations from ghosts and gods. In twenty-six “palm of the hand” stories—fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand—Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation.

Product Categories: Forthcoming, Short Stories, and Translation.  Book Author: Hiromi Kawakami.

An embittered dog walker obsessed with a social media influencer inadvertently puts a curse on a young man–and must adventure into a mysterious dimension in order to save him–in this wildly inventive, delightfully subversive, genre-nonconforming debut novel about illusion, magic, technology, kinship, and the emergent future.

The year is 20__, and Penfield R. Henderson is in a rut. When he’s not walking dogs for cash or responding to booty calls from his B-list celebrity hookup, he’s holed up in his dingy Bushwick apartment obsessing over holograms of Aiden Chase, a fellow trans man and influencer documenting his much smoother transition into picture-perfect masculinity on the Gram. After an IRL encounter with Aiden leaves Pen feeling especially resentful, Pen enlists his roommates, the Witch and the Stoner-Hacker, to put their respective talents to use in hexing Aiden. Together, they gain access to Aiden’s social media account and post a picture of Pen’s aloe plant, Alice, tied to a curse:

Whosoever beholds the aloe will be pushed into the Shadowlands.

When the hex accidentally bypasses Aiden, sending another young trans man named Blithe to the Shadowlands (the dreaded emotional landscape through which every trans person must journey to achieve true self-actualization), the Rhiz (the quasi-benevolent big brother agency overseeing all trans matters) orders Pen and Aiden to team up and retrieve him. The two trace Blithe to a dilapidated motel in California and bring him back to New York, where they try to coax Blithe to stop speaking only in code and awkwardly try to pass on what little trans wisdom they possess. As the trio makes its way in a world that includes pitless avocados and subway cars that change color based on occupants’ collective moods but still casts judgment on anyone not perfectly straight, Pen starts to learn that sometimes a family isn’t just the people who birthed you.

Magnificently imagined, linguistically dazzling, and riotously fun, Future Feeling presents an alternate future in which advanced technology still can’t replace human connection but may give the trans community new ways to care for its own.

Product Categories: Fiction and Forthcoming.  Product Tags: Future Feeling.  Book Author: Joss Lake.

Animation of Cosmogony book cover

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.

Product Categories: Fiction, Forthcoming, and Short Stories.  Product Tags: Cosmogony.  Book Author: Lucy Ives.

A woman discovers something toxic at work in the isolated village where she is apprenticing as a pharmacist, in this fable-like novel about power, surveillance, prescriptions, and cures by a captivating debut voice.

On a remote mountaintop somewhere in Europe, accessible only by an ancient funicular, a small pharmacy sits on a square. As if attending confession, townspeople carry their ailments and worries through its doors, in search of healing, reassurance, and a witness to their bodies and their lives.

One day, a young woman arrives in the town to apprentice under its charismatic pharmacist, August Malone. She slowly begins to lose herself in her work, lulled by stories and secrets shared by customers and colleagues. But despite her best efforts to avoid thinking and feeling altogether, as her new boss rises to the position of mayor, she begins to realize that something sinister is going on around her.

The Weak Spot is a fable about our longing for cures, answers, and an audience–and the ways it will be exploited by those who silently hold power in our world.

Product Categories: Fiction and Literary.  Product Tags: The Weak Spot.  Book Author: Lucie Elven.

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