Tag Archives: decadence

exciting developments, including a titanic breakfast

13 rue Thérèse is now out in paperback!  With a sexy quote from USA Today right on the cover–rowr.  In celebration, I am changing the link on the side of this page.  If you click on the cover of my book, it will now take you to the amazon page for the paperback rather than the hardback.

13 rue Thérèse also just launched in Poland!  Plus the Italian paperback came out and the cover looks totally different.  Check it out:

(Sorry I could not find a larger image!  My googlefu is weak.  Anyway, saucy, no?)

Short story-wise, I have one out now in The Farallon Review.  It’s got dogs!  And creepy bad things happen!  Do creepy bad things happen to the dogs?  Only one way to find out: get a copy of the journal…

In the Red-wise, I just passed the 200-page mark earlier this week.  I think that’s probably about two thirds of it.  So, this week, instead of Sophomore Novel Angst, I have a case of Sophomore Novel YAY, which is way more fun as syndromes go.  Sophomore Novel YAY manifests as an early morning trip to a diner to feast on something called The Volcano.  The Volcano is composed of: three giant buttermilk pancakes with syrup, two eggs sunny side up on top, and four slices of bacon.  Is this a great country or what?

Yes, I ate the whole thing, and no, I regret nothing.

Cheez Doodles for my ego

“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.

a fallow PhD

So, I am writing my new book.  Please send help!  It’s in the house and I’m pretty sure it’s trying to kill me.

Actually, it’s not too bad.  The progress is slow but steady.  My protagonist is a pretty interesting double.  It’s been a while since I’ve been inhabited like this; it’s taking some getting used to.  It’s a little bit like being in love, except the person you’re in love with doesn’t happen to exist.

Here is a giggle-worthy tidbit on academia from a book my husband is reading:

Keynes had long been suspect among his colleagues for the clarity of his writing and thought, the two often going together.  In The General Theory he redeemed his academic reputation.  It is a work of profound obscurity, badly written and prematurely published.  All economists claim to have read it.  Only a few have.  The rest feel a secret guilt that they never will.  Some of its influence derived from its being extensively incomprehensible.  Other scholars were needed to construe its meaning, restate its propositions in intelligible form.  Those who initially performed this task–Joan Robinson in England, Alvin Hansen and Seymore Harris at Harvard–then became highly effective evangelists for the ideas.  (217; Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went; John Kenneth Gabraith)

Yes, my husband reads economics for fun.  Also obscure military histories.  The last book he read before this one was called The Collapse of Complex Societies.  I think this title captures something essential about my husband’s soul.

As for me, I have entirely stopped reading any books that have an even remotely academic flavor.  It’s been tremendous.  I have managed to read a few venerable old primary sources for my exams, which are coming up the first week of May but which make hardly a dent in my consciousness.  It’s like my brain has reallocated all its resources to my novel and doesn’t want to be bothered with this crap.  Hey, want to hear something truly scandalous?  Lately I’ve read stories by authors currently alive.  Gasp!  The decadence of it: reading a novel without trying to mentally shoehorn it into my dissertation topic.  I feel naughty, I tell you.

Speaking of breaking with academia, I had a chat this week with a novelist who has a fallow PhD.  She was a Romanticist like me; it was a little eerie as it always is when you’re speaking with somebody who embodies some part of your past and/or future self.  I have a tendency to try to read such people like oracles.  But of course, oracles always spoke in gibberish that could only be untangled once it already was too late.

Barbarism vs. Decadence

I had a delicious osso bucco for dinner.  My husband said, as he watched me sucking chunks of bone marrow directly from the knife blade: “that is very decadent of you.”

I said, “no, this is barbarism.  If I were being decadent, I would have the bone marrow fed to me on a filigreed platinum spoon by a eunuch wearing a purple silk loin cloth embroidered with children’s dreams as I lounged on an ivory chair wearing a dress made of gilded hummingbird feathers, with my feet resting on a live sea tortoise encrusted with eyeball-sized emeralds.  Then I would slide said feet, their toenails painted with a polish made from black coral and the death rattles of clubbed seal pups, into my kitten fur slippers and go defecate the bone marrow into my solid gold toilet while reading a copy of Star magazine printed on pressed orchid petals with ink expressed from the blood of bald eagles.  Then I would have the eunuch wipe my ass with the pelt of a Siberian white tiger and moisturize it with passion-flower-scented whale blubber.”

He said, “oh.”

Then we had chocolate cake.