canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

Brooklyn and New York City
Lit Scene Fall 2007 Highlights

Compiled by Janine Armin and Nathaniel G. Moore

Bought out by Winton, Shoemaker & Co., which also owns Counterpoint, Soft Skull was able to go ahead with a new scourge of fall titles. This year has already heralded great literary moves in NYC, though more of the renovative bent than the innovative. Small presses, and the fairs that celebrate them, are getting a hand from new investors, ensuring the longevity of the products and the quality of drinks at the launches.

The press’ political edge continues, with titles like Freedom From Want: American Liberalism and the Global Economy by Edward Gresser, recounting the anti-globalization cause of those wily American democrats who see free trade as a bad thing, and who don’t think working for nothing is a good idea. Because that’s obvious and Soft Skull isn’t, the book also concerns the turn-around wherein these ideas are actually hurting the poor they seek to protect, as democracy becomes likened to a ‘conservative tradition reaching back to Sparta.’

The City In Crimson Cloak by Asli Erdogan, follows Özgür, a young woman who has declared war against Rio de Janerio by writing it down in her novel within the novel, The City in Crimson Cloak. The narrator describes one day in Özgür’s life, populated by ‘shanty towns, Condomble rituals, and the violence and sexuality of the streets.’ The two novels intertwine presenting diametric metaphors for Rio: life and death. Another cool book from Soft Skull is Awake! A Reader for the Sleepless edited by Steven Beeber, which looks at somnambulistic texts that help satiate the sleepless.

Brooklyn press, Akashic, is shelling out a hefty swell, with Like Son by Felicia Luna Lemus, 'the not-so-simple story of a father, a son, and the love-blindness shared between them,’ featuring a post-punk man who must solve his family saga involving a ‘Mexican avant-garde who once brought tragedy upon the Cruz family.’ Alex Rose’s The Musical Illusionist sounds mind-blowing: ‘an interwoven collection of post-modern folk tales -- disappearing manuscripts, neurological anomalies, teleporting bacteria, and an unforgettable composer who manipulates sound to bend perception -- that masterfully blends scientific curiosity with magical-realist caprice.’ This collection is organized by something called ‘The Library of Tangents’ into which the reader travels and views exhibitions and experiences ‘parallel understandings of space, time, language, and all of the senses.’

Akashic’s poetry imprint Black Boat releases Eel on Reef by Uche Nduka, who has been compared to John Ashbery and Kamau Brathwaite.

Readings defiantly abound in the city, with Chinatown’s Happy Ending Music And Reading Series features some big time writers like Ellen Litman, Chris Adrian, Jonathan Baumbach and Irini Spanidou. KGB follows suit with David Lehman, Andrew Seguin and the contributors to Open City. As usual, glamour also touches NY’s literary world, with the Accompanied Library hosting a mid-September gala looking to revitalize the elite literary club.

Also don’t forget the New York Art Book Fair September 27-30, 2007. The annual fair of contemporary art books, art catalogues, artists' books, art periodicals, and 'zines offered for sale by over 120 international publishers, booksellers, and antiquarian dealers.







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