Tag Archives: Kafka

Cycle of a non-person: The Castle by Kafka

Kafka’s final novel describes a land surveyor, simply known as “K.” arriving in an unnamed village, over which looms a castle and its mysterious bureaucracy. Through K.’s attempt to find out why he has been sent and what he is supposed to do in the village, Kafka captures the feelings of alienation, anxiety, loneliness, pain and existential angst that are universal to the human condition. Conversations with the village mayor, the schoolteacher, the landlady of the inn and a woman to whom he becomes engaged never help K. feel settled or at home in this strange place which he refuses to leave.

As I was reading The Castle, a passage from an essay entitled, “Answers and Questions” written by the exiled  Cuban author Guillermo Cabrera Infante kept coming to mind. Initially a supporter of Fidel Castro and the revolution in his country, Cabrera Infante becomes disillusioned with the suppressive Communist regime that launches his people into poverty. The author decides that if he is to continue his career as a writer then his only option is to leave Cuba and go into exile. He describes the horrifying and sad fate of those who are trapped in Cuba and have become what he calls a non-person:

Cycle of a non-person: request for exit from the country, automatic loss of job and eventual inventory of house and household goods; without work there is no work card, without a work card there is no ration book; the permission for exit can take months, a year, two, following the rules more of political lottery than of socialist chess; meanwhile, the non-person finds himself obliged to live by using the money he has saved in the bank: to leave he must restore even the last cent that he had in the bank at the moment of requesting the exit visa; if the bank account is not in order the exit visa is automatically cancelled: new request for exit visa, etc., etc.

The Castle illustrates that there are many ways in which a man or woman can be made to feel like a “non-person”: politically, socially, emotionally, economically, etc. We oftentimes feel in life, despite our best efforts to settle down, like we don’t belong in a home, a country, a relationship, a job, etc.

Kafka’s female characters and his descriptions of various romantic relationships in The Castle also fascinated me.  Women seem to hold a certain amount of power and influence in the village.  The Landlady, for instance, is the reason for the success of The Inn and the mayor’s wife Mizzi has more influence over decisions that are made in the village than the mayor himself.  When K. arrives in town he meets Freida the barmaid and after a single night of passionate sex on the Castle Inn floor, he becomes engaged to her.  But women can also become a burden as relationships grow more and more complicated and the passion dissolves.  K. takes a menial job as a school janitor so that he and Freida will have a home and a source of income.  How many sacrifices and compromises can a man or woman make in a relationship before one loses his or her identity?  How often to we feel like a non-person, a shadow of our true selves, because of obligations to family, friends, spouses, etc.?  I’m not surprised that Kafka was engaged several times and never had the desire to make a final commitment to one woman.

I am interested to see what others have thought about The Castle.  Let me know your impressions in the comments!

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Investigations of a Dog and Other Creatures: More thoughts on Kafka

What more can really be said about Kafka’s writing?  I feel almost embarrassed to share my thoughts about this new volume of translations by Michael Hofmann; there will be nothing new or earthshattering here, but I am hoping that fellow Kafka lovers will at least be happy to stumble across another devotee.  Please go easy on me as I offer my humble observations on this collection!

One of the descriptions about Kafka that I have found most fascinating is that of his writing schedule.  Since he was an office worker at an insurance agency for most of his adult life, he was limited to writing at night and, as a result, got very little sleep.  It seems he truly suffered and sacrificed in order to do the one task in the world that he loved.  In a letter to Felice dated November 1, 1912, Kafka describes his daily routine which includes work, exercise, walks with his friend Max, and writing from 10:30 p.m. until 1, 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.   How can one not have the utmost admiration for the work ethic of such a man?  Unfortunately for Felice, however, nothing and no one in his life would ever be as important as Kafka’s writing. In the introduction to his new translations of Kafka’s short prose, Hofmann writes about the author’s daily habits: “He devised for himself a life that was largely disagreeable, inflexible, and inescapable, and tried to make it productive.”

Many of the stories in this collection feel as if Kafka wrote for as long as could into the early hours of the morning and due to tiredness or further lack of inspiration he stopped working and never returned to finish them.  Although Kafka’s short prose included in this volume are likely beginnings of stories or parts of what would have been longer pieces, the writing is creative, profound and philosophical. A few of the stories were particularly dark and melancholy and left me desperately wanting more.  For instance, in “Blumfeld The Elderly Bachelor,” the story starts simply and humorously with a man returning to his flat after work, alone and wishing he had some kind of companion.  He contemplates getting a dog to keep him company, but quickly decides that the fleas, dirt and other messes involved would disrupt his orderly lifestyle.  The rigidity of Blumfeld’s daily routine felt as inflexible as Kafka’s description of his own bachelor lifestyle.

One evening, as Blumfeld is arriving home he hears a strange noise and upon entering his apartment he finds two bouncing balls.  The balls follow him around the apartment, incessantly moving and making noise and he is uneasy to find that he suddenly has two constant, annoying companions.  He comes up with a brilliant idea to give the balls away to his charwoman’s ten-year-old son, so he entrusts the boy with the keys to his apartment and requests that the child fetch them while Blumfeld is at work.

When Blumfeld feels that he has a successful plan to get rid of the balls, the scene and topics of the story change abruptly.  Blumfeld forgets about the balls and arrives at work in a linen factory where he is viewed as an obstinate, crabby man who does not work well with others.  He is condescending to his two interns and he doesn’t trust them to do even the most menial tasks.  The story ends with Blumfeld’s intern trying to wrestle a broom from a janitor so that he can avoid doing any work for Blumfled.  Kafka’s story is an interesting and sad commentary on the monotony of working in an office factory.  But what about the balls from Blumfeld’s apartment?  Did the boy ever successfully extract them?  Or were they able to entertain Blumfeld and offer some interest and companionship to his dull, lonely life?

“Texts on the Hunter Gracchus Theme,” “Building the Great Wall of China” and “Investigations of a Dog” were my other favorite stories in this collection.  They all have themes of restriction, as each person or animal is caught in a situation he feels he cannot easily escape.  The Hunter Gracchus particularly stood out because the main character is caught in a state of limbo, neither fully dead nor alive.  Is that how Kafka viewed his life, his office job and his routine?

What are your favorites of Kafka’s short prose?

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Konundrum: Selected Prose of Kafka Translated by Peter Wortsman

In this new translation of Kafka’s prose published by Archipelago Books last year, Peter Wortsman has chosen a wonderful selection of shorter writings that showcases the range of the author’s brilliance.  Old favorites such as “The Metamorphosis,” translated in this collection by Wortsman as “Transformed” appear in the volume with fresh, updated language for a 21st century audience.  For those who are new to Kafka’s writing, the inclusion of additional classic short pieces such as “The Penal Colony” and “A Report to an Academy” make this a perfect volume with which to be introduced to his writing.

For enthusiasts who are already devotees of Kafka, some surprising new translations of smaller pieces can also be found within the pages of Wortsman’s translation.  Letters, aphorisms, and short stories that would today be classified as flash fiction are all included in this new volume.  I especially enjoyed the short prose that Wortsman includes in order to highlight the different aspects of Kafka’s personal side—his sense of humor, his anxiety, his thoughts on writing and his loneliness.  In his Afterword, Wortsman writes about his love of Kafka and his decision to attempt a translation of this legendary author:

Translating Kafka for me is a bit like looking back at a first love, an attachment saved from sentimentality and necrophilia by a corpus of work in need of no face-lifts or taxidermy to entice, still as alive and relevant as any musings of an elogquent insomniac committed to extreme particularity of expression.  I give you these precious nuggets of a gold miner in the caves of the unconscious.

One of my favorite pieces that Wortsman translates, entitled “I can also Laugh,” appears to be in response to a comment made to Kafka by his fiancé Felice about his lack of a sense of humor.  Kafka’s emphatic response to her begins:

I can also laugh, Felice, you bet I can, I am even known as a big laugher, even though in this respect I used to be much more foolhardy than I am now.  It even happened that I burst out laughing —and how!—at a solemn meeting with our director— that was two years ago, but the incident has lived on as a legend at the institute.

Kafka goes on to describe in great detail how, having received a promotion at his job, was required to appear in front of the director of the insurance company in order to give thanks for his new position.  Such an occasion was expected to have an atmosphere of solemnity but during the meeting Kafka developed a ranging case of the giggles.  He tries to pretend that he is just coughing, but he begins laughing so hard that he can’t stop himself.  It was fun to see that Kafka, whose writing is so often associated with feelings of existential angst, loneliness, and isolation actually had a good belly laugh every now and then:

The room went silent, and my laugh and I were finally recognized as the center of everyone’s attention.  Whereby  my knees trembled with terror, as I kept laughing, and my colleagues had no choice but to laugh along with me, though their levity never managed to reach the degree of impropriety of my long-repressed and perfectly accomplished laughter, and in comparison seemed rather sedate.

Kafka, 1923

Three additional works of short prose that particularly attracted my attention in this volume were the ones dealing with Greek mythology: “The Silence of the Sirens”, “Prometheus”, and “Poseidon” all showcased Kafka’s ability to take elements of the fantastic and put a realistic and even humorous spin on them.  Kafka images Odysseus chained to his mast with wax stuffed in his ears to avoid the alluring songs of the Sirens.  But Kafka goes on to describe the Sirens as being silent when Odysseus passes by so the Greek hero looks rather ridiculous with his blocked-up ears.  In “Prometheus”, Kafka images the hero chained to a rock with his liver being continually eaten by eagles; but how long can this really last?  Kafka points out the absurdity of Prometheus’s punishment by concluding, “…the world grew weary of a pointless procedure. The gods grew weary, the eagles grew weary, the wounds closed wearily.”

My favorite of the three myth-based stories is the one that imagines the god Poseidon sitting at his desk under the waves and crunching numbers.  Kafka presents us with a Poseidon whose job as god of the sea no one truly understands.  Because he is so busy in his management position, he never gets to enjoy the sea over which he rules.  Poseidon would love to find a new job, but what else is he really qualified to do?  Kafka ironically and humorously concludes his story, “He liked to joke that he was waiting for the end of the world, then he’d find a free moment right before the end, after completing his final calculation, to take a quick spin in the sea.”

Wortsman concludes his translations with a series of notes that Kafka composed while very sick and unable to speak because of the pain he suffered due to his tuberculosis.  The notes, entitled by Worstsman as “Selected Last Conversation Shreds,”  are sad and tragic and show us the author’s painful last days:

To grasp what galloping consumption is: picture a bevel-edged stone in the idle, a diamond saw to the side and otherwise nothing but dried sputum.

—–

A little water, the pill fragments are stuck like glass shards in the phlegm.

—–

Might I try a little ice cream today?

—–

It is not possible for a dying man to drink.

—–

Lay your hand of my forehead a moment to give me courage.

Wortsman has put together and translated a truly enjoyable selection of Kafka’s prose that has wetted my appetite for more of the German-Jewish author’s writing.  Stay tuned for more Kafka posts!

About the Translator:

Peter Wortsman was a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow in 1974, and a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2010. His writing has been honored with the 1985 Beard’s Fund Short Story Award, the 2008 Gertje Potash-Suhr Prosapreis of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German, the 2012 Gold Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year in the Solas Awards Competition, and a 2014 Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY). His travel reflections were selected five years in a row, 2008-2012, and again in 2016, for inclusion in The Best Travel Writing. He is the author of two books of short fiction, A Modern Way to Die (1991) and Footprints in Wet Cement(forthcoming 2017), the plays The Tattooed Man Tells All (2000) and Burning Words (2006), and the travel memoir Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray (2013), and a novel Cold Earth Wanderers (2014). Wortsman’s numerous translations from the German include Telegrams of the Soul: Selected Prose of Peter Altenberg, Travel Pictures by Heinrich Heine, Posthumous Papers of a Living Author by Robert Musil, Peter Schelmiel, The Man Who Sold His Shadow by Adelbert von Chamisso, Selected Prose of Heinrich von Kleist, and Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka, many of which are published by Archipelago Books. He edited and translated an anthology, Tales of the German Imagination: From the Brothers Grimm to Ingeborg Bachmann, from Penguin Classics. He works as a medical and travel journalist.

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Review: The Happy End/All Welcome by Mónica de la Torre

My Review:

As much as companies like Google have attempted to rearrange office space into non-traditional configurations and break free of the rat maze of traditional cubicles, we still show up to work every day and have to function within a corporate structure.  Monica de la Torre’s collection of poems in The Happy End/All Welcome satirize the futile attempts of office dwellers to break free of the constraints imposed on them by bosses, human resources, and even the chairs they sit in.  De la Torre cleverly highlights the absurdity that we face in our every day work lives by using a scene from the unfinished Kafka novel, Amerika,  as her backdrop.

Kafka’s Amerika, which was published posthumously, tells the story of sixteen year-old Karl Roßmann who is forced to emigrate to the United States after it is revealed that he was seduced by a housemaid.  At the end of the novel, after Karl has had adventures with a stoker from the passage ship, a couple of drifters and his uncle, he sees a job advertisement for the Nature Theater of Oklahoma which promises to employ every applicant.  When Karl is hired as a “technical worker” he goes off to Oklahoma by train but the novel breaks off suddenly within this final chapter.  The poems in de la Torre’s collection are all set in a job fair being held by the Nature Theater of Oklahoma from Kafka’s novel.

De la Torre uses an interesting array of formats and arrangements for her poems: interviews, ad copy, reports, questionnaires and descriptions of chairs are all employed to satirize every aspect of corporate life from the job interview, to office design, to strategic plans, to the use of social media and to office politics.  Inspired by artist Marin Kippenberger’s installationThe Happy End of Franz Kafka’s Amerika” the poet states at the beginning of her collection that we are to imagine “an assortment of numbered tables and office desks with pairs of mismatched chairs within a soccer field flanked by grandstands.”  The numbered tables become the settings of poems involving job interviews for applicants who are sorely unqualified but are hired anyway.  These series of poems magnify the painful experience for everyone involved–applicant, employers, human resources, headhunters— in the job application process.  At Table 20, for example, an aspiring lifeguard with a terrible case of astigmatism is immediately given the job despite openly admitting his vision impairment.  And some applicants are asked to do the most random, absurd tasks that seem more fitting for auditions for a reality TV show than an office job:

Three people sitting on a tandem bench come forth.

Each applicant is assigned a color around which to improvise
lyrics for jingles.

Only found language displayed in the color assigned to each can
be used.

Applicants are given two hours to go searching for text in the city.

The Assistant Director selects corresponding loops from the
Buddha Machine 2.0, a portable music player, as accompaniment.

One of the funniest and most absurd poems describes a headhunter and the object of his hunt, a man who oddly looks like the artist Martin Kippenberger:

A Headhunter at the hunting blind at the edge of the field
keeps an eye on a middle-aged potbellied man in oversized
underwear who eerily resembles Martin Kippenberger. He’s
about to get in a full-sized Barbie tub near a couple of lifeguard
chairs, holds a cigarette in one hand and a hard-boiled egg in
the other.

In the Headhunter’s estimation, the man could be either rapt
in thought or overhearing the interview between the Bather
and the Lifeguard next to him. He might also be reminiscing
on the teepee villages at American Western theme campsites
he stayed at in the old days with friends, which always had hot
tubs.

The Headhunter wonders if he is seeking employment—why
else would he be at the fair? He cannot begin to imagine
what position might be appropriate for this individual defying
categorization, whose insouciance clashes with the professional
aspirations of the fairgoers.

An idea comes to him in a flash: this man could play the
Unhappy Hedonist!

This poem is set in the middle of the collection and serves a centerpiece that showcases de la Torre’s many talents as a poet.  The image of the headhunter lurking in the bushes underscores the ridiculous name given to workers whose role is recruitment.  She also brings us back to Kippenberger the artist whose installment is the specific inspiration for her strange job fair setting.  As the headhunter marks his “victim,” he proceeds to psychoanalyze him so that he can slot him into the company role that will suit him best, even if he has to invent a new job title.  It appears that the theater will now have an “Unhappy Hedonist” which position reminds us of the absurd titles that corporations have used to give a façade of importance in order to attract the highest quality of candidates for jobs which no one can clearly identify.  As I was reading this poem I kept thinking about the vague names we have for jobs even in schools. For instance, we no longer have the specific title of “Librarian” but instead we now have the difficult-to-pinpoint position of  “Media Specialist.”

When one does finally land what he or she thinks is a desirable job, reality and disappointment often set in as we see in this Case Study poem. It is interesting to note that Kafka’s working title for his novel was “The Man Who Disappeared” which is fitting for the theme of an oppressive and hard-to-break-free-from system of working life where few stand out among the corporate crowd.  The tone of this piece is markedly sadder than others in the collection:

On the first day of a new job, after quitting a highly desirable
one, the subject experiences genuine befuddlement when asked
to contribute $20 for a colleague’s taxi fare from the airport.

The day’s obligations include putting documents in boxes and
loading them into a coworker’s trunk. It soon becomes ap-
parent that the subject occupies the lowest rung of the bureau-
cracy and that, other than this odd version of paperwork, there
is nothing of consequence at stake.

The most clever and thought-provoking pieces were those that explored the idea of how we use furniture and space in an office.  An entire thriving industry has been devoted to choosing, planning and fitting out offices to make workers more comfortable and more productive.  De la Torre’s poems exude a particular tension between open and confined space, and productive and unproductive workers and ask us to think about whether or not a different arrangement of space truly makes people more active and engaged members of an office hierarchy.  In one of the poems entitled “Yes or No,” she writes:

So that personnel can move around and up and down
and function as vertical machines
office landscapes are sectioned into action offices.

It is suboptimal to give vertical machines space to move
around and up and down.

Flexible offices are not cost-effective.

Furniture in action offices is placed orthogonally.

Plants are replaced by partitions on three sides.

Action offices become cubicles.

Action offices become dead offices.

Plants enliven offices in pictures.

Living offices are safe environments for plants.

These poems force us to question whether or not it really matters how we arrange our furniture, our partitions, or our plants.  There is still a hierarchy which must be obeyed in a workplace environment or all will fall into chaos.  This collection uses several descriptions of chairs as a metaphor for the constraint that must be endured when we walk into an office regardless of  how the space is used or how it is decorated.    De la Torre poems include “The View from an Aeron Chair,” “The View from the Folding Chair,” “The View from a Womb Chair” and so on.  My favorite view from a chair is the Dodo Chair.   The Dodo is a swivel armchair, easily converted into a lounger, which is ergonomically designed for comfort.  But the poet uses a reference to the extinct bird by the same name to satirize the practicality of a comfortable chair in an office where not a single moment of rest is allowed.

A mutable shape stating that downtime hasn’t gone the way of the Dodo.

Yet the days of sitting around seem extinct.

Now it’s all go-go.  No need to go into it; who doesn’t know the feeling?

The dodo maybe?  Its temporality is other.

Its inability to adapt rendered it obsolete.

It is ironic that in an age in which we are working longer hours, are more stressed out than ever that we spend so much time in fitting out our offices with just the right type of chairs and configurations of chairs.  De la Torre sums it up best when she writes, “The office chair’s revolution is an oxymoron.”

This is one of the most clever, well-written, descriptive and hilarious collection of poems I have read this year.  For anyone looking for a new and innovative book of poems for poetry month then this one comes highly recommended by me.

Read an interview with Monica de la Torre about her inspiration for this collection at Lit Hub: http://lithub.com/monica-de-la-torre-on-corporatese-and-the-oppression-of-fancy-chairs/

About the Author:

Mónica de la Torre is co-author of the book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes (Smart Art Press) with artist Terence Gower, and co-editor, with Michael Wiegers, of Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon Press). She edited and translated the volume Poems by Gerardo Deniz, published by Lost Roads and Taller Ditoria, and has translated numerous other Spanish-language poets. Born and raised in Mexico City, she moved to New York in 1993. She has been the poetry editor of The Brooklyn Rail since 2001 and is pursuing a PhD in Spanish Literature at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in journals including Art on Paper, BOMB, Bombay Gin, Boston Review, Chain, Circumference, Fence, Mandorla, Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, and Twentysix. Talk Shows was her first book of original poetry in English.

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Review: Book of Mutter by Kate Zambreno

Each of us has their own rhythm of suffering.—Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary.

My Review:
The entry for 24 October 1911 in Kafka’s Diaries reads:

Yesterday it occurred to me that I did not always love my mother as she deserved and as I could, only because the German language prevented it. The Jewish mother is no ‘Mutter’, to call her ‘Mutter’ makes her a little comic […], we give a Jewish woman the name of a German mother, but forget the contradiction that sinks into the emotions so much the more heavily, ‘Mutter’ is peculiarly German for the Jew, it unconsciously contains, together with the Christian splendor Christian coldness also, the Jewish woman who is called ‘Mutter’ therefore becomes not only comic but strange. Mama would be a better name if only one didn’t imagine ‘Mutter’ behind it.

Kate Zambreno composed Book of Mutter, whose title is taken from Kafka’s diary, over the course of the thirteen years following her mother’s painful death from lung cancer.  Zambreno’s writing is a beautiful mixture of memoir, poetry, literary reflection, historical commentary and diary that is impossible to classify into one genre.  Similar to Kafka, there is a feeling that the author’s process of writing is an active and cathartic way for her to remember her mother and their complicated relationship and to work through her grief:

I began to attempt to write to make sense of all of these different memories and tenses of my mother.  Was, is, was… It infected everything.  I kept on trying to write her down.  My dead mother wormed her way into every book I have ever written.  I kept on trying to erase her from the pages, change her into other mothers.

And how this thing has expanded and contracted over the years—my mother book my monster book.

Throughout the Book of Mutter Zambreno includes quotes and stories about other authors who have chosen to write in order to soothe a loss.  Virginia Wolfe, Roland Barthes and Peter Handke all make an appearance in Zambreno’s text. Furthermore, there is a sense from the fragmented and random order of the text that Zambreno’s attempt to write a book of mutter becomes this monstrous exercise in rambling; at times she feels like a raving Cassandra figure that is screaming for comfort and her mutter turns into a muttering.  Her very last words written in the book are “I mutter, mutter, mutter.”

Another recurring theme throughout Zambreno’s book is that of photographs and images and how we use these things to reconstruct someone who no longer exists.  Roland Barthes is the perfect author for her to incorporate into her text since his writing about photographs was deeply affected by the loss of his mother.  She quotes from Barthes’s Camera Lucida: “It’s true that a photograph is a witness, but a witness of something that is no more.”  Throughout her journey of mourning Zambreno continually turns to family photographs to reconstruct, to recognize the woman she knew.  Her mother didn’t like to be photographed so she oftentimes was the one taking the pictures.  The photos of her childhood that don’t include an image of her mother still feel like the ghost or shadow of her mother is present since she is the one behind the camera.

One final theme that runs throughout Book of Mutter is that of objects and how we associate certain objects with those we’ve lost.   “Yet the objects we collect, they can nourish us too,” Zambreno writes.  The objects that her mother collected were a comfort to her and now become a solace for Zambreno herself.  Her mother had a collection of woven baskets, Clinique lipsticks, her children’s school papers and report cards, and gardening tools.  The saddest collection of all is the contents of her mother’s purse which she brings to her in the hospital:

I brought one of her purses to the hospital.  It sat on the table next to her bed.  It was black with a gold clasp.  She guarded it fiercely.  It was the only thing she could hold onto, something that was hers, something that reflected who she used to be.

In the purse:

a used tissue
a sample hand lotion
a lipstick never used
a wallet without money
crumbling brown tobacco lining the bottom

no mirrors

In the end all of these things—writing, photographs, objects become apocrypha, which she points out comes from the Greek “things having been hidden away”,  because she can never fully know or recapture who her mother was.  Like Odysseus, attempting to embrace his mother whom he meets in the afterlife, he tries to grasp her shadowy image three times but does so in vain because there is a permanent division between body and spirit, life and death.

For me reading Zambreno’s book was more than just about contemplating grief; it is a book about the importance of the parent-child relationship and it made me more fully aware of my relationship with  my own daughter and how I spend my time with her.  She calls me “mama” or “mommy” which might seem jejune since she is now in middle school.  But I’ve always found both of these titles more endearing and warmer than “mom” or “mother” (or Kafka’s mutter.)  I hope she always feels the same warmth towards me.  Which objects, spaces, photographs will she one day associate with me?

About the Author:
Kate Zambreno is the author of Green Girl (Harper Perennial) and Heroines (Semiotext(e)’s Active Agents). Her first novella, O Fallen Angel, was reissued by Harper Perennial in January 2017, with an introduction by Lidia Yuknavitch. She is at work on a series of books about time, memory, and the persistence of art. Book of Mutter will be published by Semiotext(e)’s Native Agents in March 2017. Drifts is forthcoming from Harper Perennial in November 2017.

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