Daniel Chacón - HOTEL JUAREZ: Stories, Rooms, and Loops; Jonathan Kline - THE WISDOM OF ASHES

   

Please join us for a double reading featuring Daniel Chacón - HOTEL JUAREZ: Stories, Rooms, and Loops - and Jonathan Kline - THE WISDOM OF ASHES.

HOTEL JUAREZ

In this collection of short and flash fiction, Daniel Chacón examines peoples’ interactions with each other, the impact of identity and the importance of literature, art and music. In one story, a girl remembers her father, who taught her to love books and libraries. “A book can whisper at you, call at you from the shelves. Sometimes a book can find you. Seek you out and ask you to come and play,” he told her. Years later, she finds herself pulling an assortment from the shelves, randomly reading passages from different books and entering into the landscapes as if each book were a wormhole. Somehow one excerpt seems to be a continuation of another, connecting in the way that birds do when they fly from a tree to the roof of a house, making “an idea, a connection, a tree-house.”

Misconceptions about people, the responsibility of the artist and conflicts about identity pepper these stories that take place in the U.S. and abroad. In “Mais, Je Suis Chicano,” a Mexican American living in Paris identifies himself as Chicano, rather than American. “It’s not my fault I was born on the U.S. side of the border,” he tells a French Moroccan woman when she discovers that he really is American, a word she says “as if it could be replaced with murderer or child molester.”

Many of the stories are very short and contain images that flash in the reader’s mind, loop back and connect to earlier ones. Other stories are longer, like rooms, into which Chacón invites the reader to enter, look around and hang out. And some are more traditional. But whether short or long, conventional or experimental, the people in these pieces confront issues of imagination and self. In “Sábado Gigante,” a young boy who is “as big as a gorilla” must face his best friend’s disappointment that—in spite of his size—he’s a terrible athlete, and even more confounding, he prefers playing dolls to baseball. Whether in Paris or Ciudad Juárez, Chacón reveals his characters at their most vulnerable in these powerful and rewarding stories, anti-stories and loops.

“In seemingly effortless fashion, Chacón’s talent goes into play, his collection unfolding with sketches of life…sketches that [he] draws for us in unpretentious prose—all on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, all on the border between life and art.” —Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considerd

Daniel Chacón is author of Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms, and Loops (2013). His collection of short stories, Unending Rooms, won the 2008 Hudson Prize. He also has a novel, and the shadows took him, and another collection of stories called Chicano Chicanery. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies Latino Boom; Latino Sudden Fiction; Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge; Caliente: The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction; and Best of the West 2009: New Stories from the West Side of the Missouri.

 

THE WISDOM OF ASHES

The Wisdom of Ashes is a web of stories connecting two poets, a nun, a black and white dog, and a huge red balloon to a heroin addict, the devil, the dead, and a mousy little man in a woman’s wool overcoat, in New Orleans in the early 1980s. In 44 moments, this novel weaves light and dark, memory and forgetting, madness and war, with smell of jasmine and the sound of cicadas in a walk along the levy.

Jonathan Kline, the consummate story-teller, delivers a diorama of New Orleans that shows the universality of our pain and guilt. Here is an artist lending us his eyes and heart in a hauntingly beautiful prayer to the human abyss.
Christian Champagne, author of The Yat Dictionary

Jonathan Kline’s The Wisdom of Ashes is lagniappe for readers who know New Orleans intimately and for those who hunger for its carnivalesque secrets. This novel echoes the realism of Honoré de Balzac, Mark Twain and Flannery O’Connor; its texture is blessed by Saint Dymphna. Kline portrays his visions of the city’s time, characters, climates, and rhythms with remarkable distinction.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr., author of The Katrina Papers

Jonathan Kline, story-teller and poet, is the author of 96 Nudes: A Poetic Oracle. His work has been published in A Gathering of the Tribes, Big Bridge, Yawp, and The Maple Leaf Rag.  He has performed in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, Cork and Dublin Ireland. He teaches visual art in the New Orleans public schools.

 

Event date: 

Monday, December 9, 2013 - 6:00pm

Event address: 

513 Octavia St
70115-2055 New Orleans
us
Hotel Juarez: Stories, Rooms and Loops Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9781558857681
Availability: Special Order. May not be available. Call the store for details.
Published: Arte Publico Press - May 1st, 2013

The Wisdom of Ashes is a web of stories connecting two poets, a nun, a black and white dog, and a huge red balloon to a heroin addict, the devil, the dead, and a mousy little man in a woman’s wool overcoat, in New Orleans in the early 1980s. In 44 moments, this novel weaves light and dark, memory and forgetting, madness and war, with smell of jasmine and the sound of cicadas in a walk along the levy.

Jonathan Kline, the consummate story-teller, delivers a diorama of New Orleans that shows the universality of our pain and guilt. Here is an artist lending us his eyes and heart in a hauntingly beautiful prayer to the human abyss.
—Christian Champagne, author of The Yat Dictionary

Jonathan Kline’s The Wisdom of Ashes is lagniappe for readers who know New Orleans intimately and for those who hunger for its carnivalesque secrets. This novel echoes the realism of Honoré de Balzac, Mark Twain and Flannery O’Connor; its texture is blessed by Saint Dymphna. Kline portrays his visions of the city’s time, characters, climates, and rhythms with remarkable distinction.
—Jerry W. Ward, Jr., author of The Katrina Papers

Story-teller and poet Jonathan Kline is the author of 96 Nudes: A Poetic Oracle. His work has been published in A Gathering of the Tribes, Big Bridge, Yawp, and The Maple Leaf Rag.  He has performed in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, Cork and Dublin Ireland. He teaches visual art in the New Orleans public schools.


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