The first day of spring, early cherry blossoms, a warm reception to our newest novel, and another release in a matter of weeks–there are plenty of reasons we’re happy it’s March. And while our lineup for 2012 has only just begun, we can’t help but feel that we’re off to one hell of a start. “But wait,” you say, “aren’t you an indie press putting out genre-busting works in a literary landscape dominated by The Hunger Games and Jeff Bezos? What could you possibly have to be excited about?” Just read on.
Reviewers have been spreading the love for Matt Mullins’ debut story collection, Three Ways of the Saw. At Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Joe Winkler calls it “a stellar debut for a brave, experimental writer unafraid to fail, to try everything to rip apart the veils of the world to see more clearly and feel more fully.” Phil Harvey at the Washington Independent Review of Books praises its “fresh characters” and “pleasant surprises.” Mike Maggio at The Lit Pub says “readers will find themselves in unknown territory that smacks of familiarity: a familiarity that we are all, in the end, capable of the worst and the best that life has to offer.”
My dad once said, “If the flame burns, the writer will out,” and I believe it was George Clinton of P-Funk who said “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” I think that somewhere between my dad’s Irish romanticism and the bottomless groove of George’s cosmo-funk there lies a kind of universal creative truth: you can’t make it happen unless you’re driven to try, but trying too hard usually isn’t the best way to make it happen.
There are less than three weeks to go ’til the April 17th release of Jürgen Fauth’s debut novel Kino, a literary thriller which, as pointed out at Readux, “deftly weaves the fictional world of Kino with the real-life world of Fritz Lang, producer Erich Pommer and Joseph Goebbels among many others, grounding the often unreal events of the novel in the similarly unreal events of what took place in the Germany and Hollywood of that time.” Jürgen, a film critic for ten years, describes how cinema informed not only the conception, but also the execution of the novel in an interview with JMWW. And he offers some invaluable advice to aspiring writers:
[I]t’s brutal making a living as a writer, and as difficult as it is to get published, that’s just the beginning. I’ve met successful, critically acclaimed authors with several novels with major houses, and they’re still struggling. This goes doubly if you happen to be married to another writer and you’re thinking about having a family. So let me repeat that advice: if there’s anything else you think you can do, do that instead.”
We’re just glad that Jürgen decided to take the plunge and write this beautiful book. As one reviewer put it, “[a]rt cannot be shutout by political swine, it cannot be muted by the masses, and those who do not understand it cannot ruin it. While art may cause mental anguish and distress, ultimately it brings to light the true nature of our existence. That is the brilliance of art, and that is the brilliance of Kino.”
Must You Be a Cave-Dwelling Hermit to Write a Novel? Luckily for our PR department, Steve Himmer (author of The Bee-Loud Glade) is neither cave-dwelling nor under a vow of silence. But in this interview at Psychology Today, he does admit that when it comes to his obsessions, solitude, loneliness and homesickness top the list (“not because I’m an antisocial person but because I’m more compelled, in many ways, by people in isolation than by people in familiar company”). Bears come in close behind.
We’re always on the lookout for refreshing works not being pushed by the New York Times bestseller list. Luckily for us, Flavorwire has put together a list of 12 Great Small Press Books Recommended by Literary Insiders. And Tommy Zurhellen’s Nazareth, North Dakota joins the ranks of these indie gems. Be sure to check the list for your next adventurous read and to see why we love this book so much.
Cherry Blossom photo by Sakura of Fukushima