Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top ten fictional coffee scenes

Benjamin Obler's debut novel Javascotia is out now in the UK and coming soon to North America.

For the Guardian, he named "his favourite significant appearances of coffee in literature."

One title on the list:
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

DECEMBER 16 I'm sick for real. Rosario is making me stay in bed. Before she left for work she went out to borrow a thermos from a neighbour and she left me half a litre of coffee. Also four aspirin. I have a fever. I've started and finished two poems.

Coffee as litmus test. Coffee as a baseline, a standard. A token of caring, requiring a suitable vessel. A lover wanting her coffee gift kept warm while she's away. Does it stay in the thermos? Does it grow cold? Coffee appears in many scenes in the first 100 pages of this book: at the cafes where Juan hangs out with the infamous Visceral Realists, and where a girl performs a sex act on him; at Maria's house, where he breakfasts with the whole crazy family. But coffee's presence is like the many poems that are allegedly written and never seen. "We're poets, and we drink coffee!" Sounds like when I was 19. Whether Bolaño is glorifying literary poserdom or poking fun is for someone else to say.
Read about another work on Obler's list.

Visit Benjamin Obler's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue