Just a few titles coming out in 2018 that I’m looking forward to. Feel free to chime in in the comments or on Twitter if you want to contribute or bring my attention to another title. I trust that these are not the books that will be showing up on other people’s “most anticipated” lists. If they were, well, it wouldn’t even be worth my time to type this up, now would it?
The Sacred Conspiracy: Internal Correspondence of Acéphale and Lectures to the College of Sociology – Georges Bataille (January 2018, Atlas Press)
Georges Bataille long ago ceased to interest me, but I trust a few readers of this blog might have more than a modicum of curiosity about this book.
Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World (January 2018) – Paul Shapiro (Gallery Books)
Lab-grown meat, animal-free meat, should be a topic of much interest to us nowadays. Who can tell what the future holds.
The Solitary Twin – Harry Mathews (March 27, 2018, New Directions)
Harry Mathews died just a year ago. I’ve read the bulk of his work with much pleasure. This is his last novel, described as “helical” in structure. Here’s the publisher’s description: John and Paul were also visitors to the town. They were twins, as identical as can be. They wore the same clothes, chino trousers and open-neck sweaters, in John’s case adorned with a faded maroon neckerchief. Both were addicted to the shellfish harvested year-round from the rocks and sands of the coast: little clams, winkles, cockles, crabs, and above all sea urchins–their dessert, as both said. They drank only McEwan’s India pale ale and smoked the same thin black Brazilian cigars… So begins the great writer Harry Mathews’s final novel, The Solitary Twin, a rollicking yet incredibly moving story of two young men who come to a picturesque beach town. Seen prismatically through the viewpoints of the town’s residents, they offer a variety of worldviews. Yet are they really twins or a single person?
Find You in the Dark – Nathan Ripley (March 2018, Simon & Schuster)
I went to grad school roughly around the same time Naben Ruthnum was there, and that’s how his work eventually became known to me. I always find his short fiction amazingly elliptical. For his first novel he’s using a nom de plume. Here’s the publisher’s description: “In this chilling debut thriller, in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims catches the attention of a murderer prowling the streets of Seattle. For years, he has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and studying them in depth, using them as guides to find missing bodies. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results to the police anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs that cops have continuously failed to do. Detective Sandra Whittal sees it differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious caller—the Finder, she names him—leading the police to the bodies. Even if the Finder isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, who’s to say that he won’t start soon?”
Questioning Minds: Volumes I and II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner (edited by Edward Burns, July 2018, Counterpoint)
These two volumes are going to list at $125 USD. Not very encouraging to me, despite my immense enthusiasm for both Kenner & Davenport. Oh well. Here’s the publisher’s description: Hugh Kenner (1923-2003) and Guy Davenport (1927-2005) first met in September 1953 when each gave a paper on Ezra Pound at Columbia University. They met again in the fall of 1957, and their correspondence begins with Kenner’s letter of March 7, 1958. In the next forty-four years, they exchanged over one thousand letters. Their correspondence about shared enthusiasm is a quarry for those interested in unique perspectives on Pound, Eliot, Joyce, Beckett, Basil Bunting, Charles Tomlinson, R. Buckminster Fuller, Stan Brakhage, Jonathan Williams, and the American modernists, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Louis Zukofsky. The correspondence ends with Kenner’s letter of August 9, 2002 lamenting how they had drifted apart.
With his mentor, Marshall McLuhan, Kenner visited Pound at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, in June 1948. Later he visited Pound in Venice and Rapallo. Davenport also was a visitor to St. Elizabeths, and, like Kenner, visited Pound in Italy. These letters record their fascination with Pound’s intellectual journey and explore how he translated the “brutality of fact” into The Cantos.
The extensive notes and cross-referencing of archival sources in Questioning Minds are a major contribution to the study of literary modernism. The letters contained within explore how new works were conceived and developed by both writers. They record faithfully, and with candor, the urgency that each brought to his intellectual and creative pursuits. Here is singular opportunity to follow the development of their unique fictions and essays.
Women and Men – Joseph McElroy (March 20 2018, dZanc)
McElroy’s futuristic, pun-filled masterpiece (1200 pages?!) will at last see a third edition. Contact dZanc in advance for a preorder if you want in; it’s going to be a limited pressing they say. Beautiful cover by McElroy’s spouse, artist Barbara Ellmann.
The Children’s Crusade – Marcel Schwob (March 2018, trans. Kit Schluter, Wakefield Press)
Thanks to translators Chris Clarke and Kit Schluter, Schwob’s work is seeing all new editions. I’ve more interest in this one and Imaginary Lives than Schwob’s other books for some reason. Can’t wait.