Tuesday, July 29, 2014

September Selection: Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers

All right, we originally planned to read Chang-Rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea for September, but those plans were made long ago, and we're kind of bored with all the current dystopian stuff, which is TOO mainstream right now: there's a Dystopian section right next to the Duck Dynasty section at your local bookstores, for fuck's sake.

So let's read something more...real.  Something about art. And motorcycles. And the 70's.  And sex.

The Guardian's rave review of Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers says this:

"This is a book supercharged with ideas – futurism, fascism, Autonomia, industrialisation, American land art, pornography – but Kushner's greatest feat is to pull off an overarching radiant coherence without anything ever feeling pat. It's deeply satisfying, too, that a novel so engaged with radicalism doesn't feel the need to experiment radically with form. A formally conventional narrative that's imaginatively incendiary, it makes any fretting over the state of the novel look plain silly."

:American land art" is so hot right now!! So quit fretting and read up.

Meeting will be held in either Italy, New York, or the Taproom in LFK.

Click here for a good interview with Kushner in The Believer. Interview title: "It's Spelled Motherfuckers." 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Selection: J. Robert Lennon's Mailman

Yes, we still exist in LFK.  We just don't blog much.  This month's selection is J. Robert Lennon's corrosive 2003 novel Mailman, chosen by Punnilingus.  It's not exactly easy to locate, but it's worth the hassle to order.  Presumably the meeting is the 28th?

If you can't find the book, follow @punnilingus on Twitter. He's been tweeting a nice selection of great lines from the book.

 "There's a cluster of old Volvos to which sandy-haired, large-hipped women are affixing enormous crinoline tutus." 

"She's probably in California, which is where he guesses women with looms go to live"

 "They'd have a good laugh about it, & he'd take her home and they'd do it on his cot."

We think Lennon will be back in LFK this fall to do stuff with the library and hang out with us as well. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PBR Film Club Examines Borgman: "I'm bored. I want to play."

In Alex van Warmerdam's bizarre, often funny, very unsettling new film Borgman, the title character is chased out of his underground lair and soon insinuates himself into the life of a conventional suburban family.  While the husband is instantly (violently) suspicious of the interloper, the wife, Marina, is quickly drawn to him, requesting his continued presence, which he tells her might be possible but only if she's willing to live with "the consequences." These "consequences" will ultimately prove quite high, with a surprisingly hefty body count.   Borgman, in many ways, is a more malevolent version of a character common in suburban literature and film: the outsider whose "subversive" views offer the repressed suburbanites a potential escape from their malaise (though sometimes the escape is death).  In Mendes' American Beauty, this character is Ricky Fitts, whose personal autonomy inspires Lester and Jane to attempt to free themselves from their suburban shackles. In Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road (and Mendes' film version) this character is John Givings, the mental patient who helps Frank and April see through the artificiality of their lives.  While Fitts and Givings don't always seem fully cognizant of their impact, Borgman is a revolutionary, but one who embraces his role as a wicked Trickster figure along the way:  "I'm bored," he says.  "I want to play."  That idea of performance and play runs throughout the film, from Borgman's mid-film identity shift to a strange production he stages in a backyard near the end.  Theatre metaphors are consistently used in Yates' novel as well, enhancing the suggestion that the suburbs are just a facade, masking whatever reality might lie behind them or, in Borgman's case, literally beneath them. With his work and "play" done, the film's haunting final passages suggest Borgman will soon descend again (and not alone) until it's time to emerge and wreak more havoc.

Here's a great poster which perfectly suggests some of these themes:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Love for Americanah

Once again I am introduced via this book club a new gateway into an author later in the game, in this case I believe is her third major work "Americanah", in which Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells a converging story of class struggle and cultural life in an ever changing Nigeria during her upbringing as she reflects while preparing to return to Nigeria after many years and great personal evolution in America and her exposure to an entirely window on race relations than she knew in Nigeria and that many of us don't quite always think about.

Yes, that's my on the fly one paragraph review, other than to simply add that her writing is exquisite:  humorous and wry and poignant and very knowing. Like most excellent writers I truly enjoy, she intimately understands how our minds work and the dialog and character situations that flow from that insight and the ability to translate it into literature is delightful beyond belief. Do yourself a favor and carry this book around with you but don't leave it lying around or someone might take it, that's how much curiosity it evoked in my travels with it.