Today, the awesome comes in two flavors: local and international!
(1) Local: Tomorrow night, Friday July 29th, my story “Commuting” will be performed by actress Bonnie Antonini at Sacramento’s Stories on Stage! The show starts at 7:30 PM at the Sacramento poetry center on 25th street (at R). So exciting! Also terrifying! But mostly exciting!
(2) International: 13 rue Thérèse was nominated for the Guardian’s First Book Award. Sweeeeeet! I just received a copy of the paperback edition for the UK (coming out in September; apparently they do paperback six months later over there rather than a year later like over here) and it is gorgeous–complete with a fabulous blurb from Simon Schama front and center: “A flirty, dirty tease of a novel.” Rowr.
With all this worldwide fame, I have to wonder why I still live in a messy apartment filled with dilapidated furniture mostly pulled from dumpsters, and carpeted almost entirely in old cat puke stains. (Fortunately the carpet is cat-puke-colored, so the stains are invisible. But if you scan it with a black light, it’s like a fucking House of Horrors in here. Forensics EVERYWHERE.)
Well, I must decamp, because I have cats meowing at me for dinner. Off to go refuel their squirty stomachs so they can juice up the last few square inches of our living quarters that don’t glow like a freaking nuclear reactor when swept with my Stinkfinder. (Yes, that is what my hand-held black light is called by its marketing team–poetic, is it not?) As the husband likes to say about our dwelling: “Well, it’s a rental.”
I haven’t been posting lately because I am eyeball-deep in my Romanian collective unconscious document (I should have a complete draft in a few days which will be something like 18,000 words, or about 65 pages). It’s a whole lot of dreamlike WTF, and after I am done I will have an underlying structure on top of which I will start overlaying the main plot of In the Red. But–I had to briefly emerge from my blogging moratorium to share with you guys the most fantabulous review in the history of ever, courtesy of Simon Schama at The Financial Times. I so, so hope that this review is blurbed on the softcover edition of my book. Actually, here–please vote on which blurb should be prominently featured on the next edition of 13 rue Thérèse:
My health has kind of sucked lately, which unfortunately means I haven’t written anything in a while. My ideas for my next book are sort of suspended in amber right now while my body is being an ass. But, I got another blurb for 13 rue Thérèse and it is totally huggable, check it out:
13 rue Therese is a wildly imaginative, multifaceted, confection of a novel. Like a master magician, Elena Mauli Shapiro gently introduces the beguiling Louise, and asks us to participate in solving her many mysteries. Louise’s story, we are warned, has ensnared many great minds. By the novel’s heady conclusion, we too have fallen captive to this most mischievous and provocative heroine.
What a lot of great adjectives! I eat them up. Nom nom.
Meanwhile I got a confirmation e-mail for my reading at Litquake’s Lit Crawl on October 9th in San Francisco and I am very excited about it. Not least because the e-mail included stuff to paste on my blog. Because I am a big dork, I love to paste stuff. Witness:
If you click on that cute little sticker, it will take you to the Litquake site listing all the cool events for the whole festival. The specific event I will be reading at is listed here. I also put it on my Events page. Lit Crawl looks like a ginormous literary progressive, like bar-hopping with stories. After the whole shabang, I have been invited to this party for which my name was put on a list. Whoa. I am also having business cards printed (a couple of people at the Sacramento panel asked me for one, which totally confused me, until I realized that I look like a grown-up, and technically maybe even a professional, and that I should have one). Plus I finally broke down and acquired an iPhone. All these things are harbingers of definite adulthood but I refuse to pay attention. (Adults have great toys though. Did you know that the primary function of the iPhone has nothing to do with telephone calls and everything to do with Pacman and taking goofy videos of your cats?)
Speaking of adulthood, when signing up for the iPhone, I had to go through this big security rigmarole during which I was asked about my mortgage and car loans. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Real people with real grown-up jobs at which they have to wear real grown-up clothes and use hilarious words like “synergy” and “productize” and “thinking outside the box” have mortgages and car loans! I am not real people; I like to tell stories and sleep a lot. I know: I am a bad, bad American. Maybe it is because I am a native speaker of French but I cannot hear the word mortgage without being overly reminded of its etymology, which comes from the French “mort” and “gage,” literally: DEATH PLEDGE. Oh dear. Why would I want to sign up for one of those?
While we ponder that, here is another sticker for the road:
“13 RUE THERESE is a puzzle-novel and gave me the same fizzy satisfaction as completing a Sunday crossword. It will light up your brain and your heart.”
–David Ebershoff, author of THE 19TH WIFE
Pretty spiff, no? This here is my first blurb. I hadn’t even known the publisher was gathering them when I received this, since galleys aren’t out yet. I will get typset pages at the end of next week; I’ll have three weeks to turn them around like I did the copyedits. Then the galleys will materialize on August 6, and the book will start to look like a book! There will be much squeeing.
Other good news: the London Book Fair has borne fruit. 13 rue Thérèse sold in Russia, Poland, and France. On top of the previous UK and Italy sales, that is five foreign markets so far. Sweet. I hope more are forthcoming; I love the idea of having a nice stack of the same book differently iterated, as I love the idea of not being able to read my own transmogrified prose.
A special Godspeed goes out to the French translator, who will have to translate my translations of French letters that are reproduced in the text. Good luck with that. Since a lot of the metafiction in the novel happens in the way Trevor chooses to edit and translate those letters, the French version of the novel will present a huge tension. The target language will be the same as the original, making the changes especially naked, and also making it obvious that Trevor himself was translated back. This will make the translator extremely and unusually visible. I am not opposed to the translator playing around with this bizarre situation, like maybe adding his own set of weird footnotes. We’ll have to see. It makes my brain tremble to fathom it.
Speaking of translation, did you know that in England, book blurbs are called “puffs?” I find that word both apt and adorable. Plus it makes me kind of hungry, it makes me think of Cheez Doodles. Nom nom. Cheez Doodles for my ego. More please.
Meanwhile I’ve been telling my husband that I’m going to bust some heads if no critic calls my prose “luminous.” Ooooh, let me tell you one of my most depraved fantasies… It is to write a terrible book, I mean horrid–the vilest excrescence my suffering body could ever push from itself–and then have it printed with ink expressed from firefly abdomens so that the prose would quite literally be luminous. Aaaaah I am so perverted. Maybe in a previous life I knew Huysmans. Maybe in a previous life I was Huysmans. Did you know that towards the end of his life, he became a huge Catholic? That too, I find both apt and adorable.
Huysmans would approve of this. It is definitely in the decadent spirit.