Monday, 8 November 2010
CBe: the next books
Let me tell you about:
1 – Jack Robinson, Days and Nights in W12. Not officially published until early next year, but copies are printed and can be bought from the site – here. Déjà vu? This title was, yes, one of the first CBe titles three years ago. Here it is again, but with some of the original contents revised and more than 60 new pieces, so more than double the length. With a non-brown cover (110 pages have b/w photos, and the cover wanted one too). And a cover quote from Geoff Dyer: ‘Ingeniously observed, elliptical and funny. It’s like the best moments from a novel – minus the padding.’
2 – Tony Lurcock, Not So Barren or Uncultivated. This doesn’t fit the profile – for a start it’s non-fiction, a compilation of accounts of Finland written by British travellers between 1760 and 1830 – but there were never really any rules, and I can’t but warm to an author who admits in his acknowledgements that some of those who helped along the way have probably by now forgotten that they ever did so. Finland was hardly part of the Grand Tour, but to some was more interesting because of that. For more details and to buy, see here.
3 – D. Nurkse, Voices over Water. ‘A world-class poet,’ says Craig Raine, and he’s right, and if UK publishing was up to scratch you’d be buying his New & Selected, at the very least, from Faber or whoever. Meanwhile, here is the record of an archetypal passage from the Old World to the New, spoken by a woman and her husband who emigrate from Estonia to Canada in the early 20th century. Pascale Petit: ‘I can’t praise D. Nurkse’s poems enough. I go to them to hear “the still sad music of humanity” and to celebrate it. Voices over Water has haunting cadences; the silences are heart-stopping. The couple’s journey . . . is a mesmerising page-turner but I make myself slow down to savour each tender, precise pleasure.’ Officially published in January, but available from the website later this month.
Coming along, next April/May:
4 – Nancy Gaffield, Tokaido Road: a sequence of poems that respond to Hiroshige’s woodcut prints entitled Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. From the draft blurb: ‘Submitting to the road and its relentless succession of departures and arrivals, the poems discover a freedom to move through and beyond the frames of time and location established by Hiroshige, not least in their voicing of moments of regret and longing, grief and desire.’ Todd McEwen: ‘The project deals most satisfyingly with a question raised by its own design: what happens to us when we look at art? The answer is, we start to make art.’
5 – Jonathan Barrow, The Queue. In February Cape will publish Andrew Barrow’s Animal Magic, a memoir of his brother Jonathan, who died aged 22 with his girlfriend in a car crash three days before their wedding. Behind that book is another one, a short novel written by Jonathan Barrow in the months before his death: the odyssey of one man and his dog through the strip clubs, prison cells, abattoirs, lunatic asylums and sewers of England, it’s a children’s book turned inside out that both offends every canon of good taste (from the draft blurb: ‘Bodily fluids flow profusely. Sexual malpractice is never more than a page away’) and remains, somehow, innocent. The Queue is that book.