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For readers of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles, this genre-bending exploration of the tragic figure of Branwell Brontë and the dismal, dazzling landscape that inspired his sisters to greatness is now available in a new edition with an introduction by Darcey Steinke.

Branwell Brontë–brother of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—has a childhood marked by tragedy and the weight of expectations. After the early deaths of his mother and a beloved older sister, he is kept away from school and tutored at home by his father, a curate, who rests all his ambitions for his children on his only son. Branwell grows up isolated in his family’s parsonage on the moors, learning Latin and Greek, being trained in painting, and collaborating on endless stories and poems with his sisters. Yet while his sisters go on to write Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Agnes Grey, Branwell wanders from job to job, growing increasingly dependent on alcohol and opium and failing to become a great poet or artist.

With rich, suggestive sentences “perfectly fitted to this famously imaginative, headstrong family” (Publishers Weekly), Branwell is a portrait of childhood dreams, thwarted desire, the confinements of gender—and an homage to the landscape and milieu that inspired some of the most revolutionary works of English literature.

Product Categories: Fiction and History.  Product Tags: Branwell.  Book Author: Darcey Steinke and Douglas A. Martin.

An animated Figure It Out book cover

“Whatever his subject―favorites include porn, punctuation and the poetry of Frank O’Hara―the goal is always to jigger logic and language free of its moorings . . . His great and singular appeal is this fealty to his own desire and imagination . . . Figuring it out, after all, is a life sentence.” ––Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

“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.”

Through a collection of intimate reflections (on art, punctuation, eyeglasses, color, dreams, celebrity, corpses, porn, and translation) and “assignments” that encourage pleasure, attentiveness, and acts of playful making, 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. Wayne dreams about a handjob 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 from “one of the most original and relentlessly obsessed cultural spies writing today” (John Waters).

Product Categories: Art, Essays, and Nonfiction.  Book Author: Wayne Koestenbaum.

“Pink is a keen observer of the culture of minimum-wage jobs and low-rent studio apartments that is the reality of life for all those who don’t find a cog space in today’s hyper-capitalist economy.” —The Guardian

Cone dealer, sunshine stealer, alleyway counselor, lunch lady to the homeless, friend to the dead, maker of sandwiches. Metal wrangler. Stag among stags. And so it goes—another journey through time spent punched in. A life’s work of working for a living. Blood, death, and violence. Dirty dishes, dead roaches, and sparkler-lit nights. Nights ahead and no real fate. So open your mouths because the forecast calls for sprinkles. Thirteen delights, scooped and served. Let it melt down your hand. Let the sun burn your face. It’s the ice cream man, and other stories.

Product Categories: Fiction and Short Stories.  Book Author: Sam Pink.

In this collection of compact fictions, Nicolette Polek transports us to a gently unsettling realm inhabited by disheveled landlords, a fugitive bride, a seamstress who forgets what people look like, and two rival falconers from neighboring towns. They find themselves in bathhouses, sports bars, grocery stores, and forests in search of exits, pink tennis balls, licorice, and independence. Yet all of her beautifully strange characters are possessed by a familiar and human longing for connection: to their homes, families, God, and themselves.

Product Categories: Fiction and Short Stories.  Product Tags: Imaginary Museums.  Book Author: Nicolette Polek.

“This book takes me right back to the Carnage Years―yours, too―sacrificed to love. If only I, you, had possessed Elaine Kahn’s wisdom and wit. These poems are lacerating, coy, bloody, and so true I wanted to memorize lines from them.” ―Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room and The Flamethrowers

Romance or The End takes up the tools of romantic narrative in order to perform the rupture between self and story that occurs at the onset of trauma. Using known and pathologized literary arcs, Elaine Kahn unspools the fundamental instability of truth, love, and language to create an experiential portrait of narrative’s power to both disfigure and restore.

ROMANCE or THE END

This is a book about love.

And it is a book about lies.

Love can be a lie, but it is also always true.

This is a book about truth.

This is a book about story.

There is no such thing as a true story and so there are no stories in this book.

Without a story, there is separation.

This is a book about separation.

Everything is a story. Even the truth.

There is nothing truer in this world than the lie of love.

Product Categories: Poetry.  Product Tags: Romance or The End.  Book Author: Elaine Kahn.

“A parable about memory, mythic characters, and confessional regrets . . . An ethereal, resonating literary gift” (Booklist, starred review) from the internationally bestselling author of Strange Weather in Tokyo.

“On a summer afternoon, Tsukiko and her former high school teacher have prepared and eaten somen noodles together.

“Tell me a story from long ago,” Sensei says.

“I wasn’t alive long ago,” Tsukiko says, “but should I tell you a story from when I was little?”

“Please do,” Sensei replies, and so Tsukiko tells him that, when she was a child, she awakened one day to find something with a pale red face and something with a dark red face in her room, arguing with each other. They had human bodies, long noses, and wings. They were tengu, creatures that appear in Japanese folktales.

The tengu attach themselves to Tsukiko and begin to follow her everywhere. Where did they come from and why are they here? And what other invisible and unacknowledged forces are acting upon Tsukiko’s seemingly peaceful world?”

Product Categories: Fiction, Folklore, and Translation.  Product Tags: Parade.  Book Author: Allison Markin Powell and Hiromi Kawakami.

This “tender biography of a sickly marmoset that was adopted by Leonard Woolf and became a fixture of Bloomsbury society” (The New York Times) is an intimate portrait of the life and marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf from a National Book Award-winning author.

In 1934, a “sickly pathetic marmoset” named Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. After he nursed her back to health, she became a ubiquitous presence in Bloomsbury society. Moving with Leonard and Virginia Woolf between their homes in London and Sussex, she developed her own special relationship with each of them, as well as with their pet cocker spaniels and with various members of the Woolfs’ circle, among them T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West. Mitz also helped the Woolfs escape a close call with Nazis during a trip through Germany just before the outbreak of World War II. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, and other archival documents, Nunez reconstructs Mitz’s life against the background of Bloomsbury’s twilight years. This tender and imaginative mock biography offers a striking look at the lives of writers and artists shadowed by war, death, and mental breakdown, and at the solace and amusement inspired by its tiny subject–and this new edition includes an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson.

“In short, glistening sentences that refract the larger world, Ms. Nunez describes the appealingly eccentric, fiercely intelligent Woolfs during a darkening time.” —The Wall Street Journal

Product Categories: Fiction, History, and Pets.  Product Tags: Mitz.  Book Author: Peter Cameron and Sigrid Nunez.

Book cover for Exquisite Mariposa, with animated butterflies

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.

Product Categories: Fiction.  Product Tags: Exquisite Mariposa.  Book Author: Fiona Alison Duncan.

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.

Product Categories: Art and Fiction.  Book Author: Lucy Ives and Lynne Tillman.

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