AREA X WANTS YOU!
Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation has made its way across the Atlantic this week, and our friends at Fourth Estate—who are publishing the book in the UK—pointed us in the direction of this mysterious website for The Southern Reach, claiming to be able to deliver “the truth” about Area X. Start with the video above. From there, explore at your own risk. You could be gone for days…or longer…
In other British Annihilation news, The Guardian greeted the book with a rave review—
You enter Area X with them, thinking the uncanny must lurk in some particular spot. The lighthouse? The reed beds? The “tower”? Very quickly you spot your mistake, as a subtle, well-engineered wrongness turns up in every character, every deed, every observation until, at last, you find yourself afraid to turn the page.
—as has The Telegraph—
The writing itself has a clarity that makes the abundancy of the setting more powerful. Little surprise, therefore, that Annihilation shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience.
Let’s just go ahead and call a Quesadilla a Quesadilla.
In The New York Times Dwight Garner says Juan Pablo Villalobos’s new novel is not just “short, dark, comic, ribald and surreal” but also “manic-impressive . . . . all delicious”; Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s Tobias Carroll calls it “realism pushed so far that it becomes bizarre and bleakly hilarious . . . hauntingly powerful”; and Julie Morse writes for the Rumpus, “[Quesadillas] is a wacky performance, a Mexican-ified Kabuki script . . . a messy concoction of absurdist theater and magical realism . . . a fast-paced, mind-bending journey.”
In People Who Eat Darkness, Richard Lloyd Parry showed that he could write about unspeakable tragedy with uncommon sensitivity and grace. Now, in “Ghosts of the Tsunami” in the London Review of Books, Lloyd Parry addresses tragedy in Japan on a less intimate scale—those who died or disappeared in the tsunami of March 11, 2011. It also happens to be the topic of his next book.
OK, so maybe Pulphead 2 is overstating it, but in the recent Tennessee Music Issue of Oxford American, John Jeremiah Sullivan pens a piece that’s in many ways a follow-up to one of the best-loved pieces in Pulphead, “The Last Wailer,” the story of Sullivan’s trip to Jamaica to meet the legendary Bunny Wailer.
In “That Chop on the Upbeat,” Sullivan goes after even more elusive quarry—the origins of ska. In Sullivan’s words:
I ran into the riddle that bedevils every person who gets lost in this particular cultural maze, namely, where did ska come from? That strange rhythm, that chop on the upbeat or offbeat, ump-ska, ump-ska, ump-ska…
Maybe the phrase “Literature Party” makes as much sense to you as “132 lbs of FSG Originals shot glasses.” We’re still getting used to it too. Does the phrase “sixty foot video wall by HTML Giant” help? Maybe it just means none of us have yet arrived at AWP. Surely it will all make sense then. And if not, that’s probably even better.
With a reading by our own Amelia Gray and a few sixty-foot videos (really?) from team Silent History and many, many more highlights (including Melissa Broder and Sommer Browning), not to mention piles of books, a hundred-plus pounds of shot glasses (we bet it clears two hundred once there’s liquid inside), and the support of the partiest small presses (and one alt weekly!) around, it promises to be The Party of the Conference™. It’s all happening Friday, February 28 at Fred Wildlife Refuge in Seattle.
Read more at and literatureparty.com. And no, we don’t how they scored that URL either - it must have cost a fortune.
The Originals Series returns on Tuesday, 2/25, to celebrate Annihilation, the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, which we’ll be releasing over the course of 2014. We hope you’ll join us for a night of free drinks, conversation hosted by “This American Life” contributor Starlee Kine, and a musical performance by Future of What. Space is limited so YOU MUST RSVP!