We will be presenting this event virtually, using Zoom. RSVP here.
LET ME THINK:
Let Me Think is a meticulous selection of short stories by one of the preeminent chroniclers of the American absurd. Through J. Robert Lennon’s mordant yet sympathetic eye, the quotidian realities of marriage, family, and work are rendered powerfully strange in this rich and innovative collection.
These stories, most no more than a few pages, are at once experimental and compulsively readable, the work of an expert craftsman who can sketch whole lives in a mere handful of lines, or reveal, over pages, the boundless complexity of a passing thought. Here you’ll find a heist gone wrong, a case of mistaken identity, a hostile encounter with a neighborhood eccentric, a glass eye, a talking owl, and a six-fingered hand. Whatever the subject, Lennon disarms the reader with humor before pivoting to pathos, pain, and disappointment—most notably in an extraordinary sequence of darting, painfully funny fictions about a disintegrating marriage that captures the myriad ways intimacy can fail us, and the ways that we can fail it.
An unnamed woman checks into a guesthouse in a mysterious district known only as the Subdivision. The guesthouse’s owners, Clara and the Judge, are welcoming and helpful, if oddly preoccupied by the perpetually baffling jigsaw puzzle in the living room. With little more than a hand-drawn map and vague memories of her troubled past, the narrator ventures out in search of a job, an apartment, and a fresh start in life.
Accompanied by an unusually assertive digital assistant named Cylvia, the narrator is drawn deeper into an increasingly strange, surreal, and threatening world, which reveals itself to her through a series of darkly comic encounters reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels. A lovelorn truck driver . . . a mysterious child . . . a watchful crow. A cryptic birthday party. A baffling physics experiment in a defunct office tower where some calamity once happened. Through it all, the narrator is tempted and manipulated by the bakemono, a shape-shifting demon who poses a distinctly terrifying danger.
Harrowing, meticulous, and deranged, Subdivision is a brilliant maze of a novel from the writer Kelly Link has called “a master of the dark arts.” With the narrative intensity and mordant humor familiar to readers of Broken River, J. Robert Lennon continues his exploration of the mysteries of perception and memory.
J. Robert Lennon is the author of nine novels, including Subdivision, and three story collections, including Let Me Think. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper's Magazine, and the New Yorker.
Dana Spiotta is the author of Innocents and Others, which won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and was short-listed for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Stone Arabia, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Eat the Document, which was a National Book Award finalist; and Lightning Field. Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and she won the 2008-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. In 2017, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the John Updike Prize in Literature. Spiotta lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.