This event will be held at our 9th Ave. store.
Sponsored by The Poetry Center at SF State.
John Keene will read from his collection of stories, Counternarratives.
Praise for Counternarratives:
"Counternarratives is an extraordinary work of literature. John Keene is a dense, intricate, and magnificent writer." —Christine Smallwood, Harper's
"Keene exerts superb control over his stories, costuming them in the style of Jorge Luis Borges…Yet he preserves the undercurrent of excitement and pathos that accompanies his characters' persecution and their groping toward freedom." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
"The stories in Counternarratives all address the efforts of enslaved or nominally free people of color to give their stymied, overflowing consciousnesses room to unfold, and a similar effort is evident in Keene’s style. Practically every sentence in the book perforates, stretches out, or pries open literary modes designed to be airtight, restrictive, and racially exclusionary." -- Max Nelson, Bookforum
Ranging from the 17th century to our current moment, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives' stories and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories, interrogation transcripts, and speculative fiction to create new and strange perspectives on our past and present. An Outtake chronicles an escaped slave's take on liberty and the American Revolution;"The Strange History of Our Lady of the Sorrows" presents a bizarre series of events that unfold in a nineteenth-century Kentucky convent; "The Aeronauts" soars between bustling Philadelphia, still-rustic Washington, and the theater of the U.S. Civil War; Rivers, presents a free Jim meeting up decades later with his former raftmate Huckleberry Finn; and in "Acrobatique," the subject of a famous Edgar Degas painting talks back.
Ranging from the 17th century to our current moment, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives' stories and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories, interrogation transcripts, and speculative fiction to create new and strange perspectives on our past and present.
An experimental first novel of poem-like compression, Annotations has a great deal to say about growing up Black in St. Louis. Reminiscent of Jean Toomer's Cane, the book is in part a meditation on African-American autobiography. Keene explores questions of identity from many angles - from race to social class to sexuality (gay and straight).