Are We There Yet? Amit Chaudhuri & Evelyn Hampton

May 26th, 2019

How do you get to the end when there’s no where to get? Authors Evelyn Hampton and Amit Chaudhuri read and discuss fictions of anxiety, memory, autobiography, and impersonation, taking us there one sentence at a time. Booksellers Freddie and Joe chime in on Co-op staff favorites W.G. Sebald, Annie Dilliard, and more. 

This week, author Evelyn Hampton joins us to discuss her new collection of short stories, Famous Children and Famished Adults, as well as her ranking of the best "fiction of anxiety," penned for Lit Hub. If you're anxious to read the books mentioned, you can find them below or, in the case of poet Charles Bernstein, listen here; and dig deeper into what Hampton calls the "uneasy anticipation" of progress in her short story "BB and Calla Lily" and Kafka's "The Bucket Rider".

Is a fiction of anxiety prefigured in a fiction of memory? Where does anxiety/memory stop and fiction start? Sharing a "metabolizing" passage from W.G. Sebald's late masterpiece Austerlitz, Bookseller Freddie speaks to the manner in which this novel exists both in and outside of its time and setting during World War II and the Holocaust. And Bookseller Joe follows the light with "these extravagant creatures" (re: moths) in ruminating about the current of time and consummation of "holy fire" in another Co-op favorite, Annie Dillard's Holy the Firm.

Back in February, novelist, essayist, poet and musician Amit Chaudhuri joined legendary Indologist Wendy Doniger in conversation about Chaudhuri's latest work of "autofiction," Friend of My Youth, published recently by the New York Review of Books. Like Austerlitz, Friend of My Youth is composed of the granular and grandiose, suggesting the expanse of reality that perception and reflection make possible. In other words: fret, fail, decompress, and recompose with us this time on Open Stacks.