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In Conversation: Idra Novey, Rivka Galchen & Francisco Goldman

Thursday April 21, 2016
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

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Francisco GoldmanIdra Novey, and Rivka Galchen discussed the challenges and benefits of moving between fiction and other genres and how that movement can lead to new ways of thinking about the novel as a form. Each read from their most recent books and talked about writing fiction while also working on essays, journalism, poetry, and translation. 

 


 

About Little Labors by Rivka Galchen

Rivka Galchen’s Little Labors is a droll and dazzling compendium of observations, stories, lists, and brief essays about babies and literature. Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book―a key inspiration for Rivka Galchen’s new book―contains a list of “Things That Make One Nervous.” And wouldn’t the blessed event top almost anyone’s list? Little Labors is a slanted, enchanted literary miscellany. Varying in length from just a sentence or paragraph to a several-page story or essay, Galchen’s puzzle pieces assemble into a shining, unpredictable, mordant picture of the ordinary-extraordinary nature of babies and literature. Anecdotal or analytic, each part opens up an odd and tender world of wonder. The 47 Ronin; the black magic of maternal love; babies morphing from pumas to chickens; the quasi-repellent concept of “women writers”; origami-ophilia in Oklahoma as a gateway drug to a lifelong obsession with Japan; discussions of favorite passages from the Heian masterpieces Genji and The Pillow Book; the frightening prevalence of orange as today’s new chic color for baby gifts; Frankenstein as a sort of baby; babies gold mines; babies as tiny Godzillas … Little Labors–atomized and exploratory, conceptually byzantine and freshly forthright–delights.

 

About The Interior Circuit by Francisco Goldman
The Interior Circuit is Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in Mexico City. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. This is the chronicle of an awakening, both personal and political, “interior” and “exterior,” to the meaning and responsibilities of home. Mexico’s narco war rages on and, with the restoration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the PRI) to power in the summer’s 2012 elections, the DF’s special apartness seems threatened. In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world’s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities.

 

About Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

This highly acclaimed debut novel begins with the disappearance of a famous Brazilian novelist and the young translator who turns her life upside down to follow her author's trail. Deep in gambling debt, the celebrated Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda is last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She abruptly vanishes. In snowy Pittsburgh, her American translator Emma hears the news and, against the wishes of her boyfriend and Beatriz's two grown children, flies immediately to Brazil. There, in the sticky, sugary heat of Rio, Emma and her author's children conspire to solve the mystery of Yagoda's curious disappearance. Brilliant and compulsively readable, Ways to Disappear is a gloriously inventive novel about the ways we do appear to each other. Both playful and profound, it is as much a mystery as it is a manifesto on the joys of translation. It is a novel, as Dustin Illingworth writes in the LA Times, "that blooms in the spaces between languages, between continents, between selves past and present.”  READ an excerpt 

 

This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


 

About the Authors

 

Rivka Galchen's 2008 first novel Atmospheric Disturbances and her 2014 story collection American Innovations were both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Conspicuously talented” (Time), Galchen lives in New York City.

 

Francisco Goldman is the author of Say Her Name (2011), winner of the Prix Femina Etranger, and of The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle (2014) and four other books. He has received a Cullman Center Fellowship and a Berlin Prize, among other awards and honors.  His work has appeared The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Believer, and numerous other publications. Every year he teaches one semester at Trinity College in Hartford, Ct., and then hightails it back to Mexico City.

 

Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Born in western Pennsylvania, she has since lived in Chile, Brazil and New York. Her poetry collection Exit, Civilian was selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into eight languages and she’s written for The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Con­sid­ered, and The Paris Review. She’s also translated the work of several prominent Brazilian writers, most recently Clarice Lispector’s novel The Pas­sion Accord­ing to G.H.