Sunday, April 24, 2022

What is Aaron Angello reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Aaron Angello, author of The Fact of Memory: 114 Ruminations and Fabrications.

His entry begins:
Currently, I’m teaching, so I am pretty much rereading what I’m teaching. Fortunately, though, I’m teaching a great class I’m calling Weird-Ass Books: Formal Experimentation in Modern and Contemporary Fiction (cool, right?), and I’ve included some books that I haven’t read in a long time, so it’s a great excuse to reread them and experience them again. Here are the most recent books I’ve read:

Autobiography of Red – Anne Carson

This novel in verse takes as its starting point the surviving fragments of the ancient Greek lyric poet Stesichorus’ Geryoneis – a retelling of the story of Heracles and Geryon, from the perspective of the red, winged monster (in addition to being a great poet, Carson is a classicist and translator of ancient Greek texts, including the best translation of Sappho out there, in my opinion). Carson sets the story of Autobiography of Red in a modern world that is both very recognizable and mythic. In her version, Geryon is a boy who just happens to be red and winged. He is also sensitive, a developing artist, a bit broken, and prone to fall in love with the very handsome and insensitive Heracles. Because she chose to write the novel in lineated verse, Carson allows herself freedom to move away from descriptive formulations more typical of the novel. Instead, she consistently surprises the reader with her shocking...[read on]
About The Fact of Memory: 114 Ruminations and Fabrications, from the publisher:
A child keeps a pet cloud in a dresser drawer. A man has coffee with his doppelganger. A 20-something stunt double performs pirate swordplay at birthday parties. A schoolkid ponders the absurdity of Hell. A woman sings a Diana Ross song to a stranger across a subway platform. In this genre-defying collection of short prose pieces, Aaron Angello explores the subtleties of recollection, imagination, and the connections, both momentary and long-lasting, between oneself and others. Each piece riffs on a word from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29; over the course of 114 days, Angello woke early, meditated upon a single word from the sonnet, and wrote.

The results are sometimes funny, sometimes profound, and sometimes heartbreaking, accumulating into a map of a mind at work, a Gen X coming-of-age of sorts, seamlessly invoking the likes of The Golden Girls, Spinoza, Rick Springfield, and Rimbaud. The Fact of Memory uses its innovative structure to pause and consider how language—and people—can both enthrall and abandon us, how the invincibility of youthful ambition gives way to the nuanced disappointments of aging, how unanswerable philosophical questions can share the page with glimpses of our former selves navigating a fragmented past.
Visit Aaron Angello's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Fact of Memory.

Writers Read: Aaron Angello.

--Marshal Zeringue