Attention Span 2012 | Danielle Dutton
Elizabeth Jenkins | The Tortoise and the Hare (1954) | Virago | 2010
This book was a complete surprise. I’d never heard of it or its author, though there are a few brief mentions of Jenkins in Virginia Woolf’s diaries. Apparently Woolf didn’t like her. And I’ve come across an article where Jenkins, in her turn, says Woolf was cruel and spoiled. At any rate, this is an engrossing exploration of a mid-century British marriage. In fact it’s much better than that sounds.
CA Conrad | A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon | Wave | 2012
It pleases me so much that this book exists. For one thing, I like its objectness (thanks to Jeff Clark’s smart and lively design), but there’s also something about the (Soma)tic project that makes this book especially objecty / physical / bodily; since picking it up this summer, I haven’t really put it down.
Ben Lerner | Leaving the Atocha Station | Coffee House | 2012
This one got so much attention I felt weirdly suspicious of it, which wasn’t the book’s fault. It’s a really good book, actually.
Chris Heath | “Mad German Auteur, Now in 3-D!” | GQ | May 2011
I’ve taught this interview with Werner Herzog in three different classes in the past year. It’s deeply funny, but also useful for talking about the place of the artist in society, fascination, dark corners, etc.
César Aira , trans. Chris Andrews | An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter | New Directions | 2006
Kind of perfect. Tight and stunning and strange.
Suzanne Scanlon | Promising Young Women | Dorothy, a publishing project | 2012
This is one of the two books I’m publishing this fall. It’s great. Of course the two books I publish each year are the two that get the hefty bulk of my attention.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi | Fra Keeler | Dorothy, a publishing project | 2012
And this is the other. It’s also great, but for totally different reasons. The books are a compelling pair—both dealing with madness, both debut novels by innovative American women, but so unlike each other.
Finally, there are a number of new and forthcoming books that I’ve been giving a deal of anticipatory attention, and which I look forward to reading soon, including The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector, newly translated by Idra Novey; Amy Leach’s Things That Are, Bhanu Kapil’s Schizophrene; Kate Zambreno’s Heroines; Antigonick Sophokles translated by Anne Carson; Laird Hunt’s Kind One; and Inferno: A New Translation by Dante Alighieri and translator Mary Jo Bang.
Danielle Dutton is the author of S P R A W L and Attempts at a Life. She is an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and the editor of Dorothy, a publishing project.
This is Danielle Dutton’s first contribution to Attention Span. Back to 2012 directory.