Thursday, August 29, 2013

Claustrophilia: An Interview with Mike Barnes, by KD Miller

Morning, folks, and happy Thursday. Wanted to direct your attention to a lovely bit of conversation between KD Miller and Mike Barnes that's running in the latest TNQ. And as a teaser here's a piece that I especially liked (not least of all because KD herself has a collection called All Saints scheduled for release with us this spring—sshhhh!):
Art has its saints, its martyrs, its holy fools, to be sure. But they’re rare. Their fame obscures that fact. Or underlines it. For the most part, art is—must be—practiced from a position of relative affluence. Not necessarily material, needless to say. But without some surplus of energy, of resources, there is no art. To make a medieval analogy, while there may be art in the upper reaches of hell—cries from those ascending or descending—there is none at the bottom.
For the full interview, click here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hoo hoo! (Or, The National Post reviews Traymore)

A phrase to join the ranks of "the rain in Spain" and
"Montcalm threw the battle."
Afternoon, folks, and happy Friday. This just in courtesy of Michael Hingston and The National Post:
One of the great joys of fiction is watching a novel set up a problem that only it has the tools to solve. With long novels, that problem also tends to involve a balancing act of the reader’s time invested vs. the stimulation received. But a novel as long and cyclical as Norm Sibum’s The Traymore Rooms wears its problem on its sleeve even more pointedly: It asks, “How little territory can I possibly cover over 600 pages?” And that comes with a built-in dare to the reader: “How long can I trick you into sticking with me?”
Fortunately, Sibum, a seasoned poet, has enough control of his craft to make even asking those questions part of the fun.
"This is Sibum’s debut novel," Hingston observes, "and it isn’t so much a dip of his toe into the world of fiction as a cannonball off a third-storey hotel balcony. You’ve got to admire his chutzpah."

Well we sure did. For the rest of the review, and to see why Hingston's convinced this may be the most beguiling book of  2013, click here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Malarky in The Irish Times; Malarky a finalist for Debut-Litzer Award; also some grovelling.

Well not a few of you have been asking where the sam-heck Biblioasis has been the past few months. Sunning? Skiing? Heavens to Betsy, they say. You SLACKERS. What happened to those glorious posts? Those tidal waves of tweets? That gallimaufry of facebook updates? And didn't you use to have a NEWSLETTER?

All right. Fine. Guilty. We took a social media nap. Like digital bears in digital winter. And for better or worse, we're coming back. Full-swing September, that's what it'll be called. So many darn updates you'll be wishing for the light in August. Or the light traffic in August. Or—

Ahem. First on the agenda are two great bits-o-news for Anakana Schofield, who was recently shortlisted for the Debut-Litzer Prize in the States, and who received a glowingly (luminously? radioactively?) positive review this weekend in The Irish Times. (In fact if I just listed an encomium once a day from that review I'd have content enough to stuff the blog till March.) The tireless AK has also done an excellent job of reporting over-the-pond news following her Oneworld publication, so if you're feeling in need of a refresher I suggest you take a look at her twitter feed or website. In the meantime, we're off to paw the Detroit River for salmon ... or something.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

UK Malarky

Hello all, and happy Wednesday. I imagine those of you in the Twitterverse have been following the explosive discussion following AK's piece on writing vs. reading culture in the Guardian last week, but for those of you who haven't, here's a bit of what's been happening. The article by AK was hard followed by a review in The Telegraph, and a response to the Guardian piece by well-known UK publicist Ruth Killick on the site Bookbrunch. Following that, of course, AK's article was retweeted some 2000+ times, and picked up by USA Today. Congrats to AK for getting the discussion going so fast & furious as always (and thanks, we say blushingly, for the generous props to the Bibliomanse she slid into so many of those pieces—we heard you Mrs.—cheers).

What else? Malarky was also mentioned by Colum McCann in the Sunday Independent, a review ran in the Irish Independent, and it was Novel of the Week this past Sunday in The Mail, which is the largest Sunday-circulation paper in the UK. We're told a Guardian review is forthcoming soon. Till then, enjoy!

"Schofield’s portrait of a woman whose personality is beginning to fragment after a lifetime in an emotional vacuum is both blackly comic and deeply felt. There is something heroic about the desperate resilience of Our Woman, and the originality of her depiction by Schofield, that leaves an indelible trace on the reader’s mind."—Jane Shilling, The Telegraph

"Brilliant … laced with dark wit and quirky lyricism, this is a striking portrait of a society in flux and a woman on the edge."—The Mail