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Saturday, 3 October 2015

New and notable: Dorothy books by Joanna Walsh and Marianne Fritz

Since devouring both Nell Zink's The Wallcreeper and Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi's Fra Keeler earlier this year, I have been eagerly anticipating the two fall titles from Dorothy, a publishing project. Dorothy is a press "dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women." So far I have found their releases to be engrossing and strange, fresh and disturbing.

Joanna Walsh is a British writer, fiction editor and illustrator, whose writing has received high praise from Chris Kraus and Jeff Vandermeer, among others. Vertigo is a series of linked stories that take us into the spaces between everyday things and rituals.

"Reading Vertigo has opened even wider my conceptions of what's possible in fiction—how a book can be like a series of photographs, like cinema....I've not read anything like it and feel it is quietly subverting the hell out of the form."—Amina Cain (Creature, I Go to Some Hollow)

Walsh also has a new book of non-fiction out: Hotel (Bloomsbury Academic Object Lessons series) is a memoir and a meditation that draws from Walsh's time as a hotel reviewer, a job she took while enduring the breakdown of an unhappy marriage.

Austrian writer Marianne Fritz (1948–2007) has never before been translated. Here we have a translation of possibly her only translatable book, The Weight of Things, which, in its original German, won the 1978 Robert Walser Prize. Her later work includes the 10,000 page literary project called "The Fortress", which involves diagrams and typescripts so complex that the publisher had to print them straight from her original documents. This first novel exposes the cruelty and hypocrisy of the 20th century through the form of a domestic horror story.

Adrian Nathan West, translator of The Weight of Things, has written a compelling essay in the Paris Review that helps to familiarize English-language readers with Fritz.

Both these titles have shot to the top of my fall reading list! Yours too, perhaps?

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