The Rumpus interview with Kadetsky: on fiction, nonfiction, and writing from an international perspective, from the perspicacious Olivia Kate Cerrone.
EA Wright chimes in on Postcard Reviews. We love this.
—and the front of the postcard
Thanks to David Abrams at The Quivering Pen for naming On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World among 2015’s three best novellas, along with excellent work by Lawrence Coates (Camp Olvido) and Robert James Russell (Mesilla). “Kadetsky held me tight against the page as I followed Netti on her dangerous quest for the truth.”
And on the topic of The Quivering Pen, its editorial board asked Kadetsky to chime in about what it was like getting published for the first (and… er… second, third, fifth, twenty-ninth) times: “By that, I think—or I thought charitably to myself at the time—he meant the type of fiction for hire that the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Thurber used to produce in the early 20th century for magazines such as Saturday Evening Post. But he might have meant, more derisively, women’s magazines.”
Check out the “Research Notes” for On the Island… in Necessary Fiction: “I suppose it was more of my good-bad luck that no one would talk to me in the space of a six-weeks arts fellowship in Malta during that summer of 2007.”
Economic Hardship Reporting Project encouraged Kadetsky to tell the difficult story of her lifelong struggles of identification, separation, compassion, and grief alongside a sister in decades’ long and ongoing recovery—and homelessness in the NYC shelters system. Vox Media’s First Person and EHRP jointly published the personal essay, along with an interview on the EHRP website with Kadetsky on some of the backstory for penning her account.
This most intelligent review by Hot Metal Bridge writer Courtney Luk, “A Study of Attitudes”:
Kadetsky’s novella is as much a story about an individual as it is about groups of people. It traces Netti’s struggle of recklessness and her rise from it while also focusing on the island of Malta and its people. Attitude in particular is at the forefront. How do cultures and individuals compare in regards to the intrusion of outsiders or foreign experiences? How do they deal with internal issues? Kadetsky masterfully conjoins these two lenses into one, having each interact and build upon the other to propel a singular story. Netti is affected by the happenings and ways of Malta as much as she affects those around her because of her hunger for revelation.
And a review of On the Island... in The Riveter: “The setting’s horrific history combined with Netti’s deteriorating personal life (of which Ian pays the price), come together for a book that, despite it’s small size, leaves you with a brick-sized lump in your gut.”
Here’s the good news that Kadetsky’s new novella—On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World—set on the Isle of Malta during a misguided vacation/escape by the world-weary and misadventure-prone Netti, is officially published as of April 21. And there’s an exciting promotion sponsored by the truly excellent publisher, Nouvella, that enables you to receive a special “launch package”… wherein for $25 you receive a signed copy of the novella, a thank you note via snail mail from the author, and a link to an e-book that you can share with someone else to spread the love. (nb: shipping is included; domestic orders only–though international orderers should contact the publisher, which will accommodate).
Thanks for checking this out. The book is exquisitely edited and beautifully published. We’re honored and thrilled to have it in the world and to be working with this top notch press. Enjoy!
On the stands in New England Review 35.4,“A Taxonomy of the Unknown,” in which Kadetsky investigates the ether of her family’s imagined past.
In this blog post for Antioch Review’s The Story Behind the Story series, Kadetsky discusses her experiences as a journalist at the close of the brutal civil war in Guatemala and how they informed her short story “It Was Only Clay,” set during the cataclysmic earthquake of 1976: “In 1994, The Village Voice sent me to cover a story set in a small highlands village in the Cuchumatantes mountains of Guatemala called San Cristóbal Verapaz….”
Our panel Mining the Gap at AWP Minneapolis 2015 was attended by 300 and received this nice shoutout in Assay Journal:
“The panel smartly resisted pop-psychology notions of “closure” as the ultimate goal of this vein of writing, embracing instead the value of the encounter with those “unassimilated scraps.” Writing is not experience itself, but an artifact of the experience. These writers accept that truth and encourage us all to write and appreciate the questions, doubts, and gaps themselves.”
“Panel organizer Elizabeth Kadetsky opened by explaining how her readings on the neuroscience of trauma informed her drafting of a cycle of essays about her mother’s illness and death by Alzheimer’s. She cited Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s definition of trauma as “unassimilated scraps of overwhelming experiences” and described narrative techniques characteristic of traumatic experience: erased fragments, nonlinear repetitions, broken timelines, paratactic sentences, and modular jumps. Her own takeaway as a writer, one relevant to this audience, was understanding how the traumatized mind redraws experience in a repetition/compulsion manner and that gaps are not to be overcome in fashioning trauma narratives, but treated as central to the form.”
In Kadetsky’s post about The Poison… on the My Book, The Movie blog, Jon Voight, Judy Davis, and Gael García Bernal take starring roles in the imaginary film version of The Poison…. See the blog post here. “Casting begins with Kim Novak, and to match eras loosely, she plays alongside Jon Voight, in his Midnight Cowboy iteration, in the short story ‘Loup Garou.’ Novak, hair curled and dyed black, plays the part-native French Canadian former waitress Cecile. Jon Voight plays across from her as John, who, in the writing was named for, yes, Jon Voight. He wears tight white jeans, a cowboy hat and a Western snap shirt and drinks straight from Cecile’s whiskey glass in a strip club. Need more be said?”
A review of The Poison… in Prime Number: A Journal of Distinctive Poetry and Prose, by Clifford Garstang: “The overall effect of these gloomy, open-ended stories is to suggest that longing is a perpetual element of the human condition. Which is not to say that happiness is out of reach. But, like Jack in the collection’s title story, we gain power over our disappointments by ingesting them and making them part of us. Despite the darkness, The Poison that Purifies You is a fine book that serious readers will find deeply satisfying.”
A review of The Poison… in Necessary Fiction: “[T]he stories in this accomplished collection are densely populated, like the cities in which most of them take place, and touched with a certain skepticism about social life—there so many others, and they are all so close—that has marked the literature of urban modernity since Baudelaire.”
Rachel Cantor reads The Poison and writes it up, in her post here on The Millions. “I divide this year’s shortlist into three categories: Tales Well Told, Fun Stuff, and Miracles of Voice.” The “transporting” The Poison… fits into Tales Well Told. Thanks Rach!
A review of The Poison… in the JMWW blog, or perhaps more of a summary. Speaking of the title piece in the collection, Robert Boucheron writes: “The story presents fine sketches of the two characters, both dreamers. Are they waiting for ransom? Lying side by side in the ‘safe house,’ will they have sex? Their situation remains unresolved, but the comic interlude is complete.”
The Poison…: the playlist:
Kadetsky’s post on David Gutowski’s LargeHeartedBoy’s Book Notes blog, in which Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and Tomaso Albinoni intermingle. Stream the playlist here.
A Vogue.com pick:
The Poison that Purifies You was named a best under the radar read for fall alongside such authors JM Tyree, Darcey Steinke, and others.
Kadetsky’s confessions of a procrastinator, more politely titled “The Art of Distraction,” in the October Glimmer Train bulletin.
This follows the appearance of her short story “What We Saw” in the Fall 2014 issue of the magazine.
September 2014 marks the release of the anthology Going Om: Real-Life Stories On and Off the Yoga Mat. From the publisher: “Ira Sukrungruang shares his heartbreaking struggle as a 375 pound yoga student discovering self-worth on his mat; Gloria Munoz explores the practice of stillness with lyrical elegance in the midst of her busy mind; Neal Pollack’s signature sarcasm leads to surprising turns at yoga class with his dad; Elizabeth Kadetsky uses yogic wisdom while coping with her mother’s devastating Alzheimer’s.”
Kadetsky was quoted widely in the press following the death of the yogi BKS Iyengar in August, the subject of her memoir First There Is a Mountain. Her essay in Quartz magazine was widely cited, and led to her citations in:
–The New York Times
–The Times of India and in this link as well.
She also appeared on two national NPR spots:
–On Point with Tom Ashbrook
–The Takeaway with John Hockenberry
If you are a fan, consider contributing a review. Here are some options:
-Goodreads—On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World
-Goodreads—The Poison that Purifies You
-Goodreads—First There Is a Mountain
-Goodreads—Going Om: Real Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat
-Amazon—The Poison that Purifies You
-Amazon—First There Is a Mountain
-Amazon—Going Om: Real Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat
Book Review: Kadetsky weighs in on Molly Antopol’s “vital” The UnAmericans in The Rumpus. “By moving from suburban realism toward a broader American worldview, she seems to probe for a sense of understanding and completion about complex international realities more weighty than the provincial American divorce.”
Interview: A beautiful tribute to Michele with links to EK’s essays on Alzheimer’s, plus a mother–daughter profile by Deborah Fries of the Penn Memory Center.
March 30, Elizabeth will be presenting with the artist Barbara Weissberger at Charles Goldman’s Grid Space in BK. Click here for info.
Guatemala, an earthquake, an archaeologist off his meds. Find out what the cataclysm wreaks in the short story “It Was Only Clay,” forthcoming in the summer 2014 issue of Antioch Review.
And the official announcement, Elizabeth’s short story collection has won the Paul Bowles Prize in the short story at C&R Press and will be published alongside the press’s wonderful authors, including Anis Shivani, John Estes, Terence Hawkins, Sybil Baker, Virgil Suarez. Thanks Chad Prevost for picking this manuscript!
Excited to announce the upcoming publication of the novella On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World at Nouvella Books. Malta, World War II, an existential mystery.
Second place win at Glimmer Train. A heat wave, a fire, a missing twin. The Fiction Open. “What We Saw” will be published in their August 2014 issue.
Upcoming Event: The Anti-Memoir, AWP panel with Joanna Smith Rakoff, David MacLean, Robin Romm, Liz Scarboro. 10:30am March 1, 2014. AWP Seattle.
The Pushcart-winning story “The Poison That Purifies You” was reprinted at the Storyville app. Click here to link to the app and for some background on how this work of fiction came to be: “[My housemate in India] had been one of four Westerners at the center of an international hostage crisis; my housemate escaped largely by chance, but one of the four hadn’t made it out alive. The strangest thing about my housemate’s story had been the sympathy he felt for his kidnapper. He said the man was at heart a good person, manipulated by higher ups.”