This event will be held at our 9th Ave. location.
Josh Barkan in conversation about his new story collection, Mexico.
Praise for Mexico
“What an unsettling, thrilling experience it is being dropped into the middle of Barkan’s Mexico. It is fraught, surreal, off-kilter, and very funny. Violence is as apt to erupt from any moment of fragile peace as great beauty and human spirit are apt almost miraculously to persist, to blossom out of all the mayhem and apparent hopelessness. These stories are wholly immersive, bizarre and recognizable at the same time, vital in their own unrepeatable, artful sensibility. “-Paul Harding, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Tinkers
“Mexico is a remarkable achievement. It is a portrait of a nation told from an astonishing range of characters, examining their daily lives in the wake of the violence created by the drug cartels. With great authority and compassion, Josh Barkan explores the human cost of this violence, looking at this world with an eye that is both uncompromising and tender. The stories are beautiful, funny, and terrifying; Barkan has created a collection that is utterly riveting and necessary. This is fiction of the highest order; read it now.” --Karen Bender, author of Refund (National Book Award Finalist, 2015)
“Barkan's collection will thrill anyone curious about what goes on behind closed doors in contemporary Mexico. These tales mic the seductive voices of the marginal and lost. With a ventriloquist's skill, Barkan gets his speakers to lure you up surprising steps:toward a sacrificial plateau where anyone might steal your heart, including the notorious drug lord El Chapo as well as your neighborhood soldier and corner prostitute. Barkan's prose is empathic and lucid in stories too fantastic to be anything but real.”- Edie Meidav, author of Kingdom of the Young
The unforgettable characters in Josh Barkan's astonishing and beautiful story collection--chef, architect, nurse, high school teacher, painter, beauty queen, classical bass player, plastic surgeon, businessman, mime--are simply trying to lead their lives and steer clear of violence. Yet, inevitably, crime has a way of intruding on their lives all the same. A surgeon finds himself forced into performing a risky procedure on a narco killer. A teacher struggles to protect lovestruck students whose forbidden romance has put them in mortal peril. A painter's freewheeling ways land him in the back of a kidnapper's car. Again and again, the walls between "ordinary life" and cartel violence are shown to be paper thin, and when they collapse the consequences are life-changing.
These are stories about transformation and danger, passion and heartbreak, terror and triumph. They are funny, deeply moving, and stunningly well-crafted, and they tap into the most universal and enduring human experiences: love even in the face of danger and loss, the struggle to grow and keep faith amidst hardship and conflict, and the pursuit of authenticity and courage over apathy and oppression. With unflinching honesty and exquisite tenderness, Josh Barkan masterfully introduces us to characters that are full of life, marking the arrival of a new and essential voice in American fiction.
The unforgettable characters in Josh Barkan's astonishing and beautiful story collection--chef, architect, nurse, high school teacher, painter, beauty queen, classical bass player, plastic surgeon, businessman, mime--are simply trying to lead their lives and steer clear of violence. Yet, inevitably, crime has a way of intruding on their lives all the same.