CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from the review.
If you missed this backlist beauty, grab a copy here.
FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!
A zombie rises from the grave of French literature to stalk the earth once more! This bizarre novel – written in 1697 – marks the first mention of the word “zombie” in world literature. It is a wicked tale of lascivious lust and lunatic desires, a strange concoction of prose and verse, set in the sexual and racial hothouse of colonial Guadeloupe. Our narrator has his eye on the beautiful Creole Countess, who goes barefoot and serves her guests tadpoles. When she offers him sex in exchange for magical powers, he tricks her into thinking she’s an invisible zombie; slapstick, humiliation, and confusion follow. Includes a preface by the avant-garde magus: Guillaume Apollinaire.
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If Black Scat opened a cinema in San Francisco, we’d be screening Temenuga Trifonova‘s TOURIST—the award-winning film based on her innovative novel.
Instead, we’ve done the next best thing: published TOURIST in a Black Scat Paperback Original edition.
Meet Jack Sturrett, a book reviewer for a London literary magazine. Dissatisfied with his job, he makes an impulsive decision to leave the city without informing anyone of his departure. He boards a bus which takes him to a small town up north where he gets a job as a tourist guide after becoming so widely read in the town”s history that he passes for a local. Outside work he maintains the identity of a tourist, living in hotels and constantly reinventing his back-story. As his fake local persona becomes threateningly real, he finds himself a suspect in a murder investigation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Temenuga Trifonova is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at York University in Toronto. Her first novel, Rewrite, was published by NON Publishing (Vancouver) in 2014. A film adaptation of Tourist (2017, 100 min), which she wrote and directed herself, won “Best Feature” at Mostra del Cinema di Taranto, Italy (2018). The film has also been screened at the Philosophical Film Festival (Skopje, 2018), and the Blow-Up International Art House Film Festival (Chicago, 2017). Trifonova is the author of the scholarly monographs Warped Minds: Cinema and Psychopathology (2014) and The Image in French Philosophy (2007), and the edited volumes Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime (2017) and European Film Theory (2008). She has been a visiting scholar and/or artist at the American Academy in Rome, the Brown Foundation at the Dora Maar House (France), The Fondation des Treilles (France), the New York University Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, and the Pushkinskaya Art Centre in St. Petersburg. She is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at Le Studium Centre for Advanced Studies in Tours, France.
Trifonova’s vision in her own words: “My work explores questions of identity: How do we know who we are? What are the limits of one’s identity? What are the limits of a delusion? Is it possible to escape from oneself? Is it possible to fail at being oneself? My characters often feel they are in control of their lives only to find out that they might not be who they thought they were, or that the world might not conform to their beliefs and expectations.”
So begins Temenuga Trifonova‘s provocative novel TOURIST, which tells the story of Jack Sturrett, a book reviewer for a London literary magazine. Dissatisfied with his job, he makes an impulsive decision to leave the city without informing anyone of his departure. He boards a bus which takes him to a small town up north where he gets a job as a tourist guide after becoming so widely read in the town”s history that he passes for a local. Outside work he maintains the identity of a tourist, living in hotels and constantly reinventing his back-story. As his fake local persona becomes threateningly real, he finds himself a suspect in a murder investigation.
This is one novel you dare not miss.
On August 17 1911—seven years before Max Ernst took up scissors and paste to create his early Dada art—WHAT A LIFE! was published in London by Methuen & Co. The authors, Edward Verrall Lucas (humorist & travel writer) and George Morrow ( illustrator and regular contributor to Punch), produced their satirical pictorial autobiography using illustrations cut from the pages of Whiteley’s General Catalogue. This inspired act of vandalism was a precursor to many works of avant-garde collage art and satire.
Long out of print in the U.S., Black Scat is proud to bring this proto-Dada classic back to life as #34 in our Absurdist Texts & Documents series.
WHAT A LIFE ! was exhibited at MoMA’s 1936 “Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism” show.
WHAT A LIFE! seems to have made little impression, either in England or in France, even though it has the remarkable distinction of being illustrated solely by collages drawn from the catalogue of a large department store in London (Whiteley’s), and therefore of being—as much by the images as by the text that they comment on—one of the first manifestations of that spirit we call “modern.” —Raymond Queneau, Bâtons, chiffres et lettres (1950)
PLUS new books by Charles Cros, Farewell Debut, Eckhard Gerdes, Norman Conquest
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If you were in NYC on June 15th and missed the BLACK SCAT SUCKER PUNCH bout between high lit heavyweight champs Yuriy Tarnawsky (seated)) and Alain Arias-Mission —shame on you! You missed a bloody good reading.
The Emily Harvey Foundation. provided ringside seats, booze & noisemakers to an unruly crowd of fans. Tarnawsky threw wicked upper-cuts from his classic collection of “short shrift fictions,” CROCODILE SMILES, while Arias-Misson responded with a blazing left hook from his new novel THE DETECTIVE WHO DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE.
Fortunately all is not lost, as both books are available on Amazon and just a click away.
Here is an except:
“A photograph never remains innocent. Just like a mirror is never innocent.” —Doug Rice
Those in search of a Faulknerian novel set in Pittsburgh will find themselves easily absorbed by Doug Rice’s lyrical meditation, Here Lies Memory, a book that skillfully braids myriad existential themes to form a multi-tiered narrative suspended between forms. From the relationship between identity and place to the speciousness of sight and words, Rice investigates how simulated realities and gentrification’s continued oppression of already marginalized groups—minorities, the indigent, the addicted, and the psychologically afflicted—distort collective memory and perpetuate dominant culture’s legacy of violent hegemony within the social narrative. Parallel narratives and succulent prose convey this tall order of emotionally charged themes and do so with a sophisticated understanding of narrative balance.
Readers are first introduced to Elgin, an African-American Vietnam War vet and widower whose despair over witnessing the continued gentrification and ultimate disappearing of his neighborhood and its history leads him to will himself into blindness. As with many of the characters in Rice’s book, Elgin seeks self-preservation, and blindness is his only means of doing so. “Going blind,” Rice writes, “saved Elgin from the oblivion being created by a world that was too full of things to see. It stopped him from losing what remained of the world that was worth saving…The old neighborhoods were becoming invisible. Renaissance this, renaissance that. Call it what you want, to Elgin it was stealing stories. Memories were dying. Outside, in the world of the seeing, the past was being erased more and more. All that was true was being forgotten.” Disappearing neighborhoods are not the only things at risk of being lost in a world with little regard for the past; Elgin’s memories of his beloved and deceased Thuy, the Vietnamese woman Elgin brought home from the war and married, are equally at risk. And Elgin and Thuy’s teenage grandson Johnny is, for Elgin, the greatest potential threat to her and the family’s eventual disappearance.
The bulk of Elgin’s story involves persistent attempts at making Johnny conscious of his naïveté and complicit ambivalence, and through these encounters, Rice’s commentary regarding the labor involved in creating dialogue between generations becomes apparent. Through sightless Elgin, we also see the importance of the oral tradition of storytelling in keeping blood memories alive. “Your story,” he tells Johnny, “began before you ever began. Before your mother cried her first tear. Before I kissed your grandmother. Before. That’s when words begin making you. In the before.” The before is Elgin’s father, Clarence, whose vitriol regarding the loss of his first love is, according to Elgin, an important part of who Johnny will become. One has to ask, though, is Rice arguing that aspects of one’s history are beyond escaping? Are we forever prisoner to our blood memory? Johnny’s quest to find his great-grandfather’s ghost and, presumably, confront the despair he would rather ignore, is a journey towards knowing the answer; in the end, Johnny’s passive observation of the spectral image of Clarence’s riverside mourning leaves no concrete resolution. Arguably, the final moments of the book foreshadow Johnny’s likely lapse into the same self-preservation that eventually takes Elgin, and Johnny’s surrender to storytelling as the answer to the things we do not know and therefore fear unsettles an otherwise staunch argument about the importance of increased visibility among the marginalized.
Rice explores place and memory simultaneously, removing them from the abstract via analogy: The city of Pittsburgh is as much a physical place—made of words—as it is an amalgamation of memory, or that of touch. Additionally, Rice explores experience and the human condition as something of a script, or a text that is rewritten and storied by the individual and culture. The problem with revision is the lack of consensus. Tenderness for one is violence for another; the simulated is…
-from American Book Review, Volume 38, Number 2,
HERE LIES MEMORY is available worldwide on Amazon.