What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going

What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going

by Damion Searls
     
 

Seventeen years after the publication of the first volume of Jacques Roubaud's epic and moving The Great Fire of London, Dalkey Archive Press is proud to publish the first English translation of The Loop, the second novel in Roubaud's Proustian series, which has in its capacity to astonish been compared to the compositions of Messiaen and the buildings of

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Overview

Seventeen years after the publication of the first volume of Jacques Roubaud's epic and moving The Great Fire of London, Dalkey Archive Press is proud to publish the first English translation of The Loop, the second novel in Roubaud's Proustian series, which has in its capacity to astonish been compared to the compositions of Messiaen and the buildings of Antonio Gaudi. Devastated after the death of his young wife, Alix, the author conceives of a project that will allow him not only to continue writing, but continue living--writing a book that leads him to confront his terrible loss as well as examine the lonely world in which he now seems, more and more, to exist: that of Memory. The Loop finds Roubaud returning to his earliest recollections, as well as considering the nature of memory itself, and the process--both merciful and terrible--of forgetting. Neither memoir nor novel, by turns playful and despairing, The Loop is a masterpiece of contemporary prose.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A too spare debut collection of five elegantly crafted stories by translator Searls (Rilke's The Inner Sky) explores the exquisite indignities suffered by those with rich inner lives. The well-read narrator of the dry "56 Water Street" attempts to write a novel about a man who circles back to where he came from, much like the fastidious writer himself whose girlfriend is soon to leave him because he is unable to plan what happens next. "The Cubicles" is a delightful dig at the vacuous "new economy" of Northern California, wherein the narrator is ensconced in a nebulous position at the punnily nicknamed Prophet Corp. There, leading a "life of Circean pleasures" which keeps him from becoming a writer, he chronicles the other sad cube-dwellers. Self-consciously writerly, Searls's work possesses a schoolmarmish charm and hints at the fresh, smart talent he may one day become. (May)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564785473
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
05/07/2009
Series:
American Literature (Dalkey Archive) Series
Pages:
101
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

One day in the nineteen fifties, a student of Nabokov's came into his office and asked for advice on becoming a writer. Lolita had not yet let this distant, bossy Russian professor retire to the Montreux he deserved. Nabokov swiveled in his wooden desk chair, or so I imagine it, and pointed to the tree outside the window (what kind of tree it was has not come down to posterity; I picture a black larch). The professor's imperious question: "Can you tell me what kind of tree that is?" The student looks politely, for appearance's sake, before answering no. "Then you'll never be a writer."

I do not know the kinds of tree in Golden Gate Park, for me they are simply lush and dark at the bottom and plunge up at the top toward the heights of San Francisco, but I have to admit I have never been as moved by the realists or the world-creating fabulists as I am by the patternmakers. Burgundian tapestry or complicated wallpaper fills the space that's there with treeness, and in the gaps between the buildings on Balboa lie textures of green that set me dreaming.

I never walk down Balboa or Cabrillo all the way to the ocean, to the surf shop with its surf shop smell, but it is important to know you can.

What People are saying about this

Benjamin Kunkel
"These stories not only read beautifully and feel true; I don't think I've ever read anything that seems at once so off-hand and so formally exacting. Damion Searls's work gives me an idea of how the short story can keep on going, what its future might be."
Keith Gessen
"Literature is dead, everyone knows that, and also-another thing everyone knows-all the great literature has already been written. But if we were somehow to begin bringing literature into the present day, we'd do it by updating, reimagining, rewriting, and then finally once and for all forgetting the past masters. That is what, in these funny, eclectic, and ultimately very contemporary stories, Damion Searls somehow manages to do."
Edith Grossman
"A series of highly imaginative and original takes on the contemporary world, both sophisticated and quirky, elegant and unique."

Meet the Author

Mosley is also the author of several works of nonfiction, most notably the autobiography Efforts at Truth and a biography of his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, entitled Rules of the Game/Beyond the Pale. He resides in London

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