le-comptoir-des-mots-3It’s been great to see such thoughtful, complimentary responses to Comment élever votre Volkswagen – especially those at Un Dernier Livre Avant La Fin Du Monde, the blog Charybde 2, Lazare Bruyant’s amazing review at Fric-Frac Club, and Benjamin Berton’s flattering review in Premiere Magazine.

le-comptoir-des-mots-2I’m grateful, too, for the continued support for the book. Just yesterday, Le nouvel Attila announced that they’d post translations of write-ups from my 2011 playlist for Largehearted Boy to Facebook on a weekly basis. The first one, my notes on Rusty Belle’s “Rearview Mirror Sunrise,” appears today. I also discuss music in my recent interview with Lazare Bruyant, which appeared this morning on Fric-Frac Club.

Finally, here are some pictures from the window of the Paris bookstore Le Comptoir Des Mots, originally posted on Facebook by Philippe Guazzo II.

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Comment-eleverez-vous-votre-Volkswagen-posterToday’s the day – Comment élever votre Volkswagen is now available in France!  The French edition has received some good buzz, and Le Nouvel Attila has planned several events to celebrate and promote it.  My thanks to Théophile Sersiron, Matthias Lehmann, Benoît Virot, and everyone at Le Nouvel Attila for devoting so much time and energy to my book.

Here’s another one of Matthias Lehmann’s fantastic illustrations from the French edition of the novel.

book_mechanic_by_matthias_lehmann

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The French edition of my novel, Comment élever votre Volkswagen, translated by Théophile Sersiron, is scheduled to be published by Editions Attila on April 17. Here’s the cover, and one of Matthias Lehmann’s amazing illustrations (note the sign for Route 116, and the word “Haymarket” on the dog’s coffee cup!). I’m incredibly grateful to Benoît Virot and Editions Attila for their meticulous approach to the book, and, as always, to Melville House – for bringing the book into the world, finding a home for it overseas, and so much more.

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Joseph McElroy

Joseph McElroy

 
It’s not every day that I get to read with a writer who is frequently compared to William Gaddis and Thomas Pynchon. I did have that opportunity last night, though, when I read with the fiction writer Joseph McElroy and poets Sandra Liu, Marina Weiss, and Ben Purkert. This event was organized by Patrick Gallagher as part of his Animal Farm Reading Series, and it took place in the back room at Over the Eight in Williamsburg. All of the work astounded me, but I was especially grateful to hear Joseph read from his new novel, Cannonball. Thanks to my fellow readers, and to Patrick for organizing such a great event.

A new review of my novel has just been posted on Identity Theory.  “For anyone who’s ever wished for a novel-length rendition of Tom Waits’s “The Piano has been Drinking,” HTKYVA is the triumphant answer,” writes Michael Beck.  The full review is available here.

I’m an admirer of Adam Novy’s work, so I was particularly delighted by his recent review of my novel on The Kenyon Review Online.  Novy calls the book brave, accomplished and wrenching – please click here to read the full review.

My review of Sheila Heti’s new novel, How Should a Person Be?, appears in today’s Boston Globe – please click here to read it.

Before leaving Syracuse on Thursday I had lunch with my old friend, and former teacher, Michael Burkard.  Michael is on the poetry faculty of the M.F.A. Program at Syracuse, and he had a profound impact on me when I studied with him.  He seemed to think about writing differently than any other writer I’d met; as I think his work reveals, his process is informed by intuition, experimentation and inquiry.  He has a wonderful ear, too, which inspired me to pay more attention to musical ideas in my own work.  The first stories I wrote for my novel, in fact, were written for his Prose Poetry class.  Michael was kind enough to bring me a copy of his new book, lucky coat anywhere, which was published last year by Nightboat Books.

I left Syracuse on Thursday afternoon and drove on to Buffalo and Talking Leaves Books.  I’d heard great things about Talking Leaves – from Michael, among others – and the store lived up to the hype.  Owner Jonathon Welch has acquired a great collection of books published by independent presses, and I was also impressed by the store’s selection of literary journals.  I was glad to have the opportunity to read from my work and meet some other local writers.

During my third year in Syracuse University’s M.F.A. Program, I taught a class for undergraduates called “Living Writers.”  The course is quite unique, in that it’s designed entirely around Syracuse’s esteemed Raymond Carver Reading Series; students in the course read work by each visiting author, participate in a Q & A with that writer, and then attend their reading.  It’s a popular course at S.U., with several sections offered every semester.

When my novel was published last summer, I was fortunate to receive an invitation to read in the Raymond Carver Reading Series; I returned to campus yesterday to speak to students in the afternoon and then read from my work.  This was a very special event for me – having seen some of my favorite writers read in the Gifford Auditorium in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, I was honored to stand at the podium and talk about my work.

The event also gave me the chance to convey my gratitude to the faculty of the M.F.A. Program.  My three years in Syracuse were some of the best of my life – I studied with some amazing writers and made some great friends.  It was here, too, that I began writing my novel, an early version of which I submitted as my thesis.  I’m indebted to the faculty at Syracuse for all of their support – both while I was a student, and in the years since.