“Would I have carried myself with the same swagger, or faced adversity with such feminine resolve, without Albertine as my guide?…I was drawn to a striking, remote face—rendered violet on black—on a dust jacket proclaiming its author ‘a female Genet.’” Patti Smith’s favorite little-known book.
This is absolutely a New Directions book, and we think those of you who’ve fallen in love with Javier Marías or Roberto Bolaño or László Krasznahorkai as much as we did will agree. Wholeheartedly.
“Both typography and images take the form of ransom notes, rubbings, recollections, glimpsed parts of an unfathomable whole. There is a story. What matters — as always, in matters of literature — is the penumbra around it in every direction.”
With the close of the post-Bolaño decade, it seems that the tide of the author’s original works is finally ebbing. New Direction’s latest release, much to my delight and that of other genre boundary-watchers, is The Secret of Evil, a thin collection of fictions that occasionally read as essays. Or is it the other way around?
Watching the hot sunlight falling on the tablecloth covered with sticky blotches and crumbs, Andrei was suddenly struck by the thought of what a genuine tragedy it was for millions of light rays to set out on their journey from the surface of the sun, go hurtling through the infinite void of space and pierce the miles-thick sky of Earth, only to be extinguished in the revolting remains of yesterday’s soup. Maybe these yellow arrows slanting through the window were conscious, hoped for something better—and realized that their hopes were groundless, giving them all the necessary ingredients for suffering.
And souls are candles, each lighting the other.