- May 17, 2013
ZYZZYVA Spring Release at Diesel
Location: 7 p.m., Diesel Bookstore, 5433 College Ave., Oakland
Description: Come celebrate the release of Issue No. 97 with readings from contributors Molly Giles, Marianna Cherry, Alexandra Teague, & Aaron Jae-Ho Shin. Editors Laura Cogan & Oscar Villalon host. Free. For more info, visit http://bit.ly/15REYYI
- May 22, 2013
Luis Negron in Conversation with Oscar Villalon
Location: 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
Description: Negron, an acclaimed Puerto Rican journalist, editor, and writer, will discuss his debut story collection, "Mundo Cruel" (Seven Stories), with ZYZZYVA's managing editor. Free. For more info, visit http://bit.ly/1449E5v
- June 13, 2013
National Book Critics Circle Mixer at ZYZZYVA
Location: 6 p.m., ZYZZYVA, 466 Geary St., Suite 401, San Francisco
Description: Celebrate the summer with an informal mixer hosted by the NBCC and ZYZZYVA editors Laura Cogan and Oscar Villalon. Free to NBCC members and those interested in learning more about the organization.
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Tag Archives: fiction
There’s a lot of good writing out there—an amazing amount, really, considering the ongoing moaning and groaning going on about the “death of literacy’’ and other current cultural shibboleths—but not that much that is truly original, free of clearly demarcated literary influences, antecedents and referents. A thousand Eggers, David Foster Wallaces, let alone Kerouac and Salinger imitators, bloom from every Brooklyn basement and suburban redoubt. All the more remarkable, then, when someone finds a way to make it new, speaking her own truths against the powers of the past. Which makes Los Angeles author Lenore Zion’s first novel, Stupid Children …Continue reading
Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel Zazen, which won the 2012 PEN/Bingham prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Tin House, the Atlantic, Bust, Bitch, and other publications. And according to her bio, Veselka, who lives in Portland, Ore., has been at various times a teenage runaway, an expatriate, a union organizer, and a student of paleontology.
Her story “Christopher Hitchens” appears in ZYZZYVA’s 2012 Winter issue. Both funny and chilling, it tells of a young mother desperately looking to lose all her beliefs with the help of Lyle, an expert in such things who has a face like Eric Clapton’s. (“You’d never recognize him without context,” says the narrator.)
“Christopher Hitchens” is the second of three connected stories. The first, “Just Before Elena,” ran in Tin House No. 53. The third story is slated to run in SWINK.
The following is an excerpt from “Christopher Hitchens.”
Erica Olsen’s story collection, Recapture (Torrey House Press, 161 pages), presents the American West as a cabinet of curiosities, containing the artifacts, animals, and lonely people abandoned along man’s quest for the coast. These sixteen diverse tales (one of which, “Reverse Archaeology,” originally appeared in ZYZZYVA) emerge from the geography of America’s remaining vacancies, where the civilized go to escape the mess of civilization. Olsen, acting as chief archeologist, presides over these sparsely populated landscapes. With each story, we gain access to unknown physical and emotional territory.
F.X. Toole, who died in 2002, was the boxing trainer and author of the novel Pound for Pound and the award-winning story collection Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner (2000), from which the story “Million $$$ Baby” was later adapted into the Oscar-winning film of the same name. ZYZZYVA’s Spring 1999 issue marked Toole’s first time in print with the story “The Monkey Look,” which later would be published in Rope Burns.
“The Monkey Look” follows the life of a seasoned L.A. cutman, whose job it is to treat the bleeding and swelling suffered by boxers during a bout. Told in wonderfully engaging prose, it is a revealing, humorous, and entertaining story about the grim realities of the professional boxing world and the not always upstanding fighters, promoters, and trainers who people it.
The following is “The Monkey Look” in its entirety.
Janet Sarbanes, currently chair of the MFA writing program at Cal Arts, published her first story in the Fall 1999 issue of ZYZZYVA. “The Real Joan” follows graduate student Fiona on a quest to resume her Joan of Arc-themed dissertation amid a Los Angeles full of eerie spinsters and abandoned dogs. This is a world, Fiona thinks, that has “clutched at me with its long yellow nails and refused to let go.”
Precise and zanily brilliant, Sarbanes illustrates the emptiness of a young woman obsessed. The following is her story in its entirety.
Tatjana Soli is the author of two novels: The Lotus Eaters, a New York Times-bestseller and winner of the James Tait Black Prize, and her newest book, The Forgetting Tree (St. Martin’s Press), which publishes this month.
“Pinkville,” her story in ZYZZYVA’s Fall 2012 issue, “is one of two stories I wrote about the [Vietnam] war since coming back from Vietnam last year.” While her first novel, The Lotus Eaters, details the experiences of an American female combat photographer during the Vietnam War, “Pinkville” jumps around in time and deals “more with the [war's] aftereffects.”
“When I came across the story of Hugh Thompson“—the U.S. Army helicopter pilot who, along with his crew, intervened between U.S. soldiers and Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre—”I knew there was one more part of the war that I had to write about.”
The following is an excerpt from “Pinkville.”
Mauro Gallardo is a writer and ukulelist living in Monterrey, Mexico, and recently completed his first novel, I Liked You Better When You Were A Junkie.
In Gallardo’s short story in ZYZZYVA’s Spring 2012 issue, “Get In and Toss the Gun in Back,” translated by ZYZZVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon, we encounter a narrator who relies on good humor and quick thinking to deal with the mayhem that has come to define his city. (Monterrey is Mexico’s third largest city and one of the hardest hit by the ongoing drug war.) Coming back from a disastrous date, he diverts a carjacking into something like a joyride. Funny and surprising, Gallardo’s story could be viewed as one young man’s way of staying human amid a wretched situation.
The following is an excerpt from his story.
In Todd Shimoda’s most recent novel, Subduction (Chin Music Press; 304 pages), the book’s visual design is as crucial to the narrative’s enjoyment as is the prose Endo, a doctor exiled to the island of Marui-jima for committing a fatal mistake, occupies himself by becoming concerned with the island’s elderly residents. Curious about the years before his arrival, and the choices the islanders have often come to regret, he befriends Mari, the island’s documentary filmmaker, and grills her about the islanders’ stories, as well as her own. But when she presses Endo to share personal details of his own life, …Continue reading