- October 13, 2014
The Heyday of Malcolm: A Tribute to Malcolm Margolin
Location: 6:30 p.m., 312 Sutter St., Book Club of California, San Francisco
Description: Margolin, the publisher of Heyday Books, is celebrated by Rebecca Solnit, Paul Yamazaki, ZYZZYVA managing editor Oscar Villalon, Andrew Lam, Kim Bancroft, L. Frank, and Charlie Winton. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/1ty1CQW
- October 18, 2014
ZYZZYVA at Lit Crawl
Location: 6 p.m., Casanova, 527 Valencia St., San Francisco
Description: Readings and revelry with ZYZZYVA contributors Vauhini Vara, Earle McCartney, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, and perhaps a couple of surprise guests. Free.
- October 21, 2014
Monkey Business & ZYZZYVA East Bay Literary Evening
Location: 7 p.m., Diesel Books, Oakland
Description: ZYZZYVA managing editor Oscar Villalon and contributor Peter Orner help celebrate the Japanese literary journal Monkey Business, with its editors Ted Goosen and Roland Kelts and contributors Tomoka Shibasaki and Hiromi Itoh. Conversation and readings. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/1mlBBnd
- October 22, 2014
Monkey Business & ZYZZYVA SF Literary Evening
Location: 5 p.m., University of San Francisco, Xavier Auditorium, S.F.
Description: ZYZZYVA contributor Dean Rader joins Ted Goosen and Roland Kelts, editors of Japanese literary journal Monkey Business, and contributors Tomoka Shibasaki and Hiromi Itoh for readings and conversation. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/YYKEQq
- November 4, 2014
Will Boast in Conversation with Oscar Villalon
Location: 7 p.m., Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Ave., San Francisco
Description: Boast, ZYZZYVA contributor and author of the story collection "Power Ballads," discusses his memoir, "Epilogue," with ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. For more info, visit http://bit.ly/1unPP75
- November 11, 2014
Lydia Millet in Conversation with Oscar Villalon
Location: 7 p.m., Green Apple Books in the Park, 1231 Ninth Ave., San Francisco
Description: Millet, the winner of a PEN Center USA Award for Fiction and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a Los Angeles Times Book Award, discusses her new novel, "Mermaids in Paradise," with ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. For more info, visit http://bit.ly/1vsPCT8
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Monthly Archives: September 2011
Justin Torres’ first novel, We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 144 pages), carries all the balm and hazard of strong waves at high tide. Told through the eyes of the youngest of three brothers, the novel evokes the experience of youth and the struggles of a poor family from Brooklyn living in upstate New York. Through his enveloping and fast-paced prose, Torres bestows his story with a rare generosity and honesty, portraying the family’s jagged love – with all its cruelty, beauty, tenderness, and loyalty – and chronicling the events leading to the family’s calamitous fragmentation. Torres, who lives in …Continue reading
Science began with the Copernican Revolution. Recognition that the world is an average planet, and that our place in the cosmos is nothing special, has allowed humanity to make generalizations about the universe based on local observations. Yet while the Copernican Revolution has enlightened scientists for centuries, art remains Ptolemaic. The work most cherished is esteemed for being atypical. Whether admired for academic skillfulness or avant-garde boldness, the masterpiece is our artistic ideal. If art is to foster universal understanding – and be more than a cultural trophy – the great works must be abandoned. We must banish masterpieces as …Continue reading
A dozen museums dot the city center in Trondheim, Norway. There’s the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Tramway Museum, and the Norwegian Resistance museum, which favors dioramas—plastic destroyers, cotton balls painted black. Downtown is a peninsula, tacked to the mainland with spidery bridges. Cranes swing out over the canals from the tops of boxy warehouses. The buildings, even the new ones, are all in the same style—wide and low painted clapboard boxes, in colors at once saturated and muted: poppy red, ocher, mustard, powder blue, and sage. It has a more vibrant art scene than you would expect in a …Continue reading
San Francisco writer Malena Watrous first novel, If You Follow Me (HarperPerennial), was published last year. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Believer, GlimmerTrain, The Massachussetts Review, Salon.com, StoryQuarterly, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She now works for Stanford as a head instructor in the Online Writer’s Workshop.
“Princess,” which appears in ZYZZYVA’s Fall issue, is a ruefully wise story about parenting — its joys, its limitations — couched in that most seemingly innocuous of events: a child’s birthday party. The following is an excerpt from Watrous’ story.
There once was a baby born in a shoe, wedge, open toe open heel, Florida balmy breezes, monsoons, then a single wide white trashed trailer, inauspicious plastic laundry basket her manger in that backwater Bethlehem. She grew out of place fast, had the twins, bought a rip-off Gucci bag in Times Square, raised her kids in its deep pockets, leather and fringe, no bondage buckles, ‘til they were grown and unemployable. They slept days, trolled the nasty nights, kept their St. Christopher medals, she’d given, hidden. She couldn’t find her post trauma Viet vet in the dark in the handbag, …Continue reading
Slake, a new, Los Angeles-focused literary journal, put on one hell of a release party for its newest issue on a recent Friday night in Atwater. There were couture food trucks serving gourmet hot dogs and fried chicken. Hot girls serving flatbread strutted around in cute ‘70s cocktail dresses. The Guggenheim guy (Hank, or something) I heard read at Book Party, a West L.A. reading series that no longer exists, was holding court within a circle of smiling blondes. There was an open bar. It was remarkably lively, in a way I haven’t witnessed since the Rumpus Monthly, a packed …Continue reading
In ordinary conversation, the terms “poet” and “philosopher” tend to be applied arbitrarily to people with artistic and intellectual capabilities. But in the case of author and philosophy professor Troy Jollimore, they’re not hyperbolic descriptions but hard facts. Jollimore rose to literary prominence in 2006 when the National Book Critics Circle named his first book of poems, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, the recipient of one of its annual awards. Since then, his second poetry collection, At Lake Scugog, has appeared, and his poems have been published in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, and other journals. Concerned with both the hypothetical and …Continue reading
“This was a city of the world, a profound city, an endless city,” reflects Mark Perdue, the narrator and protagonist of Louis B. Jones’ latest novel, Radiance (Counterpoint; 240 pages), as he contemplates the unfamiliar surroundings of Los Angeles. The departure from Jones’ home turf of Terra Linda and Berkeley — ground zero for his previous novel, Particles and Luck, also featuring Perdue, and his alarmingly excellent first novel, Ordinary Money – is salutary, and disturbing, for the author and his invented worlds. In the new book, Perdue, a physics prof at UC Berkeley with a fading career that may be …Continue reading
David Guterson, who lives in Washington with his wife and children, is the author of the story collection The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind and the novels The Other, Our Lady of the Forest, East of the Mountains, and Snow Falling on Cedars, which won the PEN Faulkner Award. His new novel, Ed King (Knopf), will be published in October.
“Politics” is set among the Moaist strikes that shut down Nepal in 2010 and left thousands of tourists caught in the middle. In Guterson’s story, an American man attempts to help out his ex-wife (“technically she was still his wife because they hadn’t signed divorce papers yet”), a journalist who has been seriously injured in a car crash. As he tries to make his way by foot to her hospital, he confronts the mayhem and poverty around him. “He decided to pretend these child-beggars didn’t exist,” Guterson writes, “that he didn’t hear or see them, but that was even more infuriating, because it embroiled him, now, in self-examination, and in pondering the conclusion he was rapidly coming to — that you couldn’t win in a case like this. That no matter what you did, you were wrong.” The following is an excerpt from “Politics.”
Will Boast was born in England, grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin, and now lives in San Francisco, where he also works as musician. A former Stegner Fellow, his fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, Narrative, and other publications. His story collection, Power Ballads (University of Iowa Press), comes out in October and has drawn praise from Yiyun Li, Tom Franklin, and Ann Beattie.
“Lost Coast” is a sneaky story about revenge set in perhaps the most unlikely of places: the indie music scene. Boast effectively evokes the noirish hues of San Francisco and masterfully conveys the craftsmanship of the music at the heart of the piece. The following is an excerpt from the story, which appears in ZYZZYVA’s Fall issue.
Can you surrey? Can you picnic? Surrey down to a stoned soul picnic… And from the sky come the Lord and the lightning. -from the song “Stoned Soul Picnic” by The 5th Dimension They hit the streets, those Single gents spilling out of the cleaners All partnered up & promenodding Escorting their dainties. O You Shirtwalkers! Drop her, she’s just a thin wire of feigned domesticity Nothing but a clothes hanger. The press and starch of your city life Is blanding your manly. Don’t you see me passing? I want to slap my hands against your plackets & Pop your …Continue reading
I can’t not keep coming back to this place that’s not a place, its pepper trees, olive trees, lilac, narcissus, jasmine, here with me and mock orange and eucalyptus and working words that fill in others, an earthquake-enlivened rose bush, pollarded plane trees and sycamores, and cypress flat-topped by sea wind. Here are Interstate concrete, desert dust, hardpan, here are cobblestones and woven bricky streets, Death Valley’s salt flats, here are red granite domes that cool at night and groan. They are here. The imagination rushes toward the world in fear of forgetting anything: witness and invent, it says, and …Continue reading