HeroinesIn the eighties, we began to see writers popularly crafting new prose types—namely the one we now call “Creative Nonfiction.” More specifically, we began to see quite a few women (though fewer men) embarking on what we’d recognize as personal and autobiographical criticism.

 

Kate Zambreno is the guest. She is the author of two novels, O Fallen Angel and Green Girl, and her latest book is a critical memoir called Heroines, now available from Semiotext(e).

Bitch magazine calls it

A brave, enlightening, and brutally honest historical inquiry that will leave readers with an urgent desire to tell their own stories.

Also in this episode: A conversation with Ron Currie, Jr., whose new novel, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (Viking | February 2013) is the January selection of the TNB Book Club.

Listen here:

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Another year has come and gone, and it’s time once again to present The Nobbies, the official book awards of The Nervous Breakdown.

Below you’ll find this year’s winners, our picks for the best books of 2012.

Congrats to the victors, and their publishers.

And thanks, as always, for reading.

-BL

In Kate Zambreno’s hallucinatory and disjointed Green Girl (Emergency Press), we are lured into the world of Ruth, a young American girl lost and damaged in London. Following this ingénue into her dark musings, the echoes of voices fill the page—Ruth, HIM, her mother, the author, and the silver screen flickering in the distance. It is a hypnotic read—the duality of Ruth—her good side and her darkness, the need to behave and the need to be punished.

Above all, you must illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities, and say what your beauty means to you or your plainness, and what is your relation to the ever-changing and turning world of gloves and shoes and stuffs swaying up and down among the faint scents that come through chemists’ bottles down arcades of dress material over a floor of pseudo–marble…
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

 

A photograph often tells a thousand words, or so it’s been said.When you add poetic verse to animated images and the inquisitive eye of both Erica Lewis and illustrator Mark Stephen Finein you find yourself victim to the backward realities and ideas that lurk inside the book titled, Camera Obscura.Memories are ingrained in our minds but are subject to change upon our re-telling or remembering them, but a photograph cannot morph or change into an altered version of reality. While a photograph can age and the shape and images can fade, that moment in time stands still. In examining how a memory can be kept alive or reinvented is discussed in the pages of illustrations here, all while remaining safe in the creator’s mind. Images actually reside in the receptacle of saved images the mind keeps tucked away.  This hybrid work of art and poetry asks us, the memory-makers to look closely at what we hold so dear.  What is real and what is imagined? Do recollections through art (written and photographed) stand the test of time? Do they outweigh the memories in our mind? How and why we recount stories the way that we do? How accurate are our re-telling of stories or viewing of old photos can be when we lose the organic nature of each simply in the re-telling.

Come out this Friday to hear wondrous author Kate Zambreno read from her new novel at Bluestockings Radical Books in the LES.

Friday, April 30 at 7pm at Bluestockings, 72 Allen Street, New York, NY

O Fallen Angel is an American triptych inspired by Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion,” also a grotesque homage to Mrs. Dalloway. She writes the blog Frances Farmer Is My Sister, which will inspire a collection of essays to be published by Semiotext(e)’s Active Agents series in Fall 2011. She is also an editor at Nightboat Books.

Here’s a blurb from SPD:

“Haunting and visionary, Kate Zambreno’s O FALLEN ANGEL examines the suburban family with ruthless elegance. Here is a novel, done and undone, a brazen mirror reflecting the 21st century.”
—Lily Hoang