Suicidal, apt to crumple on a dime in fits, I was flown out to my father’s in his dustbowl town, where nothing was expected, said my father, the place would be all mine, take a job when you’re ready, said my father, or anything you like. I’m looking for my own work, said my father, but we’ll fix you up, and if you need it, said my father, we’ll go find it, that’s what really counts. You’ve only got to get here, said my father, that’s it. We’ll be together then, and together we’ll be good. Click here to read more.
"One day Lou Brown decided to kill himself. But when he sat down to craft a suicide letter, the simple act of committing words to the page was like opening up a window to his mind, allowing the whole world to shine. His book went on to become a runaway bestseller, making him a literary icon, earning him all the trappings of the American Dream. It’s now five years later and the obligations that come along with great success have robbed him of the freedom he values above all else. When Lou suspects his fiancé of an infidelity, he moves into the Frontier Motel, setting himself up for a week-long adventure where he’ll once again learn to buck convention, indulge in his honest appetites, and follow his uninhibited instincts." Click here to read the excerpt.
Mellissa Broder has been at the cutting edge of the poetry world for a decade publishing titles such as Meat Heart and When You Mean One Thing and Say Your Mother. Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In her new book, So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential themes she explores on Twitter, grappling with sex, death, love low self-esteem, addiction, and the drama of waiting for the universe to text you back. Here she is "ballsy and beautiful, aggressively colloquial and achingly poetic" in her book trailer that's goth as fuck. Melissa Broder is the author of four collections of poems, including the forthcoming Last Sext (Tin House, 2016). Her poems have appeared in POETRY, Guernica, and The Iowa Review, among other journals. She lives in Venice, California. Click here to preorder So Sad Today.
In the weird and wonderful tradition of Kelly Link and Karen Russell, Amber Sparks’s dazzling new collection bursts forth with stories that render the apocalyptic and otherworldly hauntingly familiar. In “The Cemetery for Lost Faces,” two orphans translate their grief into taxidermy, artfully arresting the passage of time. The anchoring novella, “The Unfinished World,” unfurls a surprising love story between a free and adventurous young woman and a dashing filmmaker burdened by a mysterious family. Sparks’s stories―populated with sculptors, librarians, astronauts, and warriors―form a veritable cabinet of curiosities. Click here to read the excerpt.
On Saturday mornings Maneesh tells Sarah things. They have lived together for six months. Sarah refuses to define their relationship, so Sarah is just Sarah and she lives her life saying she has a cold. Maneesh doesn’t understand why Sarah always has a cold, but she says she does and she likes to talk about it. Once a week Sarah works for a veterinarian who makes house calls. The only reason he makes house calls is to put dogs to sleep. The only reason he employs Sarah is to have someone in the house if the dog is too big. Click here to read more.
We are all migrants here. Working with our thumbs and hands in the organic orchid field. We are all brown with the sun and some from family. We do not all speak Spanish. I speak some, enough. I dream it and can tell when I’m the butt of another’s joke. To know slurs and insults, to roll with the subtle, confusingly slow brushes against my backside as I lean into the plants. Click here to read more.
Happy New Year Autre Readers,
I want to tell you about a book that you should read in 2016. I have never written a book review before, but I’ve read a lot of them and had my own book reviewed a couple dozen times, and therefore know that I hate them—they are too long, usually, and too bombastic and too laudatory and too much too much. They either show off or get goopy or refer to too many old works or take shots at the work or as is usually the case are written by friends of the author and biased and shit.
Let’s talk about cocaine. There is hardly any of it that is real anymore. Agreed? I am sober, as in I don’t do drugs anymore, but let’s say that I did have a little taste of toot the other night, as fiction, let’s say that, and that the taste on my tongue was definitely watered down, i.e. stepped on, meth coke bullshit. It’s everywhere, right?
We don’t want our funk stepped on. If there was real coke, in the fiction, I would as a fictional character done a line, and as the Byrds sing, would offer you to take a whiff on me, which is what I will do later in this review. I’ll offer you to take a whiff on me of some real coke.
Garth Greenwell has got your coke, and I’m going to give you a little whiff of his supply, in the sense that Garth has the straight numb your face off wake up powder in the novel he is releasing this month with FSG titled, WHAT BELONGS TO YOU.
This novel, and no I don’t know Garth, was recommended by an author I admire, Alex Che, and so I asked for an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) from Grant and he agreed and sent me over a copy. I read the first page and was keenly aware that Grant has the coke. This masterpiece of his begins in a public bathroom underneath the Sofia National Palace of Culture in Bulgaria where the narrator tells us he first spied the object of his lust and desire, a hustler of charisma with a jagged tooth who is rolling a joint in a stall with another man when the narrator first pays the hustler to let him suck the hustler’s cock in the bathroom. The book goes from there with the intensity of interpersonal drama and identity that brings to mind Oscar Wilde, Fitzgerald, Plath, Nabokov, and is nothing short of our first masterpiece…there I go again doing the thing I hate, the book is a masterpiece. I’m going to give you those tastes I promised now, but as you will see, this book and the writing are something we don’t get anymore. They are a taste of real coke, only without the gasoline, murder, death, guilt, corruption that goes into cocaine. Writing like this simply doesn’t come around anymore. The majority of what we get to read from living authors is part meth at best. This is the pure shit. Enjoy. Text by Luke Goebel. We were going to include some excerpts from the Greenwell's new novel, but all the lit mags, like the Paris Review, claimed dibs, so you may as well just purchase "What Belongs To You: A Novel" here
Sometimes sensual, sometimes sexual, Feros a call to awake the senses. Firmly rooted in this time, the erotic review explores an obsessive look aesthetic and contemporary fascinations for impulses living being. The publication stands out as the need to reveal the principles of a contemporary eros which seeks and is constantly renewing itself, without manipulating representations. In each issue, art and literature intersect, align and interact freely. Wild beauty and sought: Feros. The first issue includes contributions from Julian Feeld, Apollonia Saintclair, Mirka Lugosi and more. You can purchase the first issue of Feros in a standard edition and limited edition here.
In this excerpt from his newest novel, Sasha Fletcher takes us on a walk through town on a chilly evening, with the cold winds coming in "from the North or the East or some other place full up with trouble and nonsense." Click here to read the full story.
Ryan Ridge's short stories carry a sort of essence of the 21st century. His brief prose style parallels with our abrupt, social-media-driven way of communicating in the modern world. The following tales--centered around the recently gentrified community of Echo Park in Los Angeles--capture the dark tensions behind everything from climate change to Charlie Chaplin tramp stamps. Click here to read the selections.
He was a “he,” which meant the dummie knew already that there was only two things in the world that mattered and he wasn’t either of them. Were, were! There was the online world of instagram photos and sexiness. Everything that was young or female and sexy or famous and rich and arching its back in a photo, which he wasn’t and then there was the physical world of problems, such as taking a shit and what was written on the wall, and having to go upstairs to take a shit because someone was already in the bathroom, which was the janitor, probably, and him being on campus, and him being in his office, and his being on campus, and him being a fuckhead professor, which you shouldn’t and couldn’t really even say as a fuckhead who was a professor. Fuckhead. click here to read the full story
Fiction writer and nonfiction essayist Luke B. Goebel – author of Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours – gives a history lesson like no other in this 8,000-word essay (separated into four parts) on the artist colony haven known as Marfa, Texas. From the Nazi prisoner of war camps of the 1940s to the great minimalist Donald Judd planting his roots here, Goebel brilliantly weaves his own historical narrative with art history’s narrative – he also combines his fears, his hopes, his aspirations and his yearnings for this art Shangri-La in the Texas badlands that is still hinged on the neon Americana of yesteryear’s no vacancy sign. It is a romantic, madcap, delirious tale that takes you on a romping ride through the hellish landscape of Goebel’s free associative wax poetics that at times gets caught up with the rolling tumble weeds and amber colored dust of the desert, but never leaves you lost and begging for water. Click here to read the full essay.
Read "Snow's Tight and the Two Whores – Abandoned and Unfinished" the latest true tale of scoring, shooting up and burning out on the streets of Los Angeles by writer Max Barrie. Click here to read the story.
"...Women in the past, they usually reacted like a dog ate their homework. Of course, I'm referring to the ladies that weren't handing me an invoice after I ejaculated..." Max Barrie talks about the "vagina of his dreams," being in the friend zone and the ultimate torment of both rejection and self realization in the latest installment of his non-fiction short story series A Trendy Tragedy. Read the store here.
Chris Burden, who passed away a few days ago at his home in Topanga Canyon, California at the age of 69, was known for his performance art pieces that bordered on terrorism, like the time he took a pistol and fired several shots at a passenger airline taking off from LAX. In another piece, entitled Coals to Newcastle, which is a British idiom for doing something stupid or pointless, Burden sent a toy rubber-band model airplane with marijuana strapped to it over the border into Mexico. In the following eulogy of the late groundbreaking artist, Bruce Licher - a former student and founder of the LA post-punk band Savage Republic - describes his adventure in Calexico with Burden during the preparation and making of Coals to Newcastle. Read the whole story here.