THURSDAY, DECEMBER FIRST at 7PM
Please join us in welcoming Nathanaël, who will be reading from her new book Feder (Nightboat Books). A coversation will follow, along with refreshments.
"I'll write the history of blue dust, of a small bird that nests in tall grasses by an abysmal sea, of a photograph black with possibility, a tropical climate, a stadium filled with wounded bodies, railway spikes and rotting rice fields, the sagas of colonies, poisoned kisses and storks with wooden beaks, iron cast for the sole purpose of cruciation, and ornamented by speech. Who made the wall smooth for the firing squad? Who lined the bodies up along the jetty? Tore the mouths of sea creatures, abandoned the iron desks, the submarines, the sunken levies. It was no one I'd met before, long-limbed, graceful and murderous, insatiate and free, in the way the unborn are free, infected with promises of disease, avid squanderings, a deadly peace."
You can read a review of the book -- by our own bookseller, Manuel -- here.
From Publishers Weekly:
Writer and translator Nathanaël’s (The Middle Notebooks) latest is a slim, obscure “scenario” in which philosophical musings on architecture, the photographic image, and epistemology are layered atop a bare-bones narrative foundation. History, this elliptical book seems to imply, is too violent, chaotic, and vast to perceive in all its complexity; rather, the historical record is like a photograph left “to macerate too long in the developer... [a] thick amassment of detail, so intricate as to be indiscernible.” The enigmatic protagonist is Feder, “a man, who is no man, in a time, which is no time.” He is a creature of habit, marching up the same stairs to the same desk in a soulless architectural complex, where he works as a functionary assigned various vague tasks. Feder investigates an unidentified corpse languishing at the bottom of a stairwell, only to be eventually deemed guilty for some unspecified offense. The cipher-like Feder is at once vital to the smooth operation of the state mechanism and utterly replaceable, a body as expendable as the ones constantly washing ashore and onto the city streets. Thick, theory-heavy prose abounds—“The coincidence of reflectivity and transparency provokes an unresolvable somatic contradiction which is most apparent at a building’s flexion”—but Nathanaël’s idiosyncratic vision and patches of desert-dry absurdist humor add a pleasurable element to the reader’s book-length bafflement.