Stories, Essays & a Portrait Gallery
by Chloe Aridjis
with an introduction by Tom McCarthy
Renowned internationally for her lyrically unsettling novels Book of Clouds, Asunder and Sea Monsters, the Mexican writer Chloe Aridjis crosses borders in her work as much as she traverses them in life. Now, collected here for the first time, her stories, essays and pen portraits reveal an author as imaginatively at home in the short form as in her longer fiction.
At once fabular and formally innovative, acquainted with reverie and rigorous report, sensitive to the needs of a wider ecology yet familiar with the landscapes of the unconscious, her texts are both dream dispatches and wayward word plays infused with the pleasure and possibilities of language. Conversations with the presences who dwell on the threshold of waking and reverie, flâneuses of the dusk and dawn, these pieces will stay with you long after the lamps have flickered out.
‘Exquisite dreamworks that exert alternative logics and make a compelling case for the idea that we are born into fantasy and only gradually acquire a sense of a much narrower and more rational reality.’
‘Aridjis fuses the explosive restlessness of pop culture with the elegance of highbrow restraint to create new and subversive cultural forms. Hybrid currents collide and coalesce in bizarre refractions of expressionist horror film, surrealist painting, Mexican wrestling, insomnia, hypnotism, dwarfs and even some of the comic book novelties that sprang from the fetid business brain of mail order millionaire Harold Braunhut. This isn’t just literary slippage, it’s a landslide of subtle laughs and extraordinary artistic innovation.’
'Chloe Aridjis’s stories and essays are beguiling, her language fresh, her bright mind refreshing. She joins fantasies with realities, to startle the senses, to unite what seems unlikely – a mother eating sea monkeys, a son who can’t leave his house. With elan, she investigates life’s profound and peculiar mysteries. Reading Dialogue with a Somnambulist, one page after another, entranced, I was filled with admiration and love for this daring, excellent writer.’
House Sparrow Press
Formed in 2016 to publish A Sparrow’s Journey, House Sparrow Press is, in the best and multiple senses of the word (it is hoped) an ‘occasional’ venture. Based in Hackney, London, it seeks to publish creatively committed, collaborative works both at a time that is relevant and for reasons that feel compelling. It is drawn to manuscripts of hybridity, titles that might elude conventional publication over concerns of form or scale. It also believes in a modesty of style (but never of ambition) and a fecundity of ideas. Its moniker (drawn from its first venture) celebrates a creature that was once ubiquitous and yet is now threatened. The idea of a bird inhabiting and inspiring a place of residence also feels resonant. This is what the best books do too. There are wings at work here. In short, Emily Dickinson was right (again) when she observed that ‘hope is the thing with feathers’.
House Sparrow Press comprises Jess Chandler (Publisher and Editor) and Gareth Evans (Editor).