PREVIOUS BOOKS OF THE MONTH:
March 2019: Proleterka by Fleur Jaeggy, tr. alastair mcewan (AND OTHER STORIES)
from 3:AM Magazine: What makes her writing so free of convention, so powerful in its asceticism is her ability to freeze out all that’s unnecessary, to say only what cannot be kept to herself, dropping the rest so as to remain suspended in the void, wishing for nothing to happen.
from the publisher: A fifteen-year-old girl and her father, Johannes, take a cruise to Greece on the Proleterka. Jaeggy recounts the girl’s youth in her distinctively strange, telescopic prose: the remarried mother, cold and unconcerned; the father who was allowed only rare visits with the child; the years spent stashed away with relatives or at boarding school. For the girl and her father, their time on the ship becomes their ‘last and first chance to be together.’ On board, she becomes the object of the sailors’ affection, receiving a violent, carnal education. Mesmerised by the desire to be experienced, she crisply narrates her trysts as well as her near-total neglect of her father. Proleterka is a ferocious study of distance, diffidence and ‘insomniac resentment.’
February 2019: Sissy by ben borek (boiler house press)
from 3:AM Magazine: There is something about it — the relentlessness, the largesse, the wit — that means it feels like something that has sprung into existence fully formed… an extraordinary achievement.
from the publisher: Sissy is an hilarious, epic romp of a novel encompassing, in its burlesque scope, our modern crisis of masculinity, the banality of City work, our retreat into virtual lives and the alienating effects of modern technology, with plenty of variegated sexing in-between. Sissy is an anti-hero antidote to Don Juans; a modern masculine counterweight to, and sad manifestation of, the internet-induced fright of the real: a thirty-something wimp by day – surreally re-born of his long-suffering mother each morning – and a would-be-gangsta by virtual night. The novel is a virtuosic attack on the notion of the male Romantic Hero written in a language that is rich and flamboyant; enjoyably, hilariously, baroque, while at the same time an extraordinary reclamation of the narrative epic form for the woker ‘now’.
"SISSY is a funny, exquisite, appalling, unprecedented, masterpiece." – Toby Litt