The Grave on the Wall by Brandon Shimoda
"The Grave on the Wall is haunted, which is to say that the history it unsettles comes alive and happens all at once. Brandon stares into everything with his inexhaustible attention, into a history of war and imperialism, a half-told family history of photographs and immigration documents—a documentary, a documentary of the documentary—and at the center of it, he stares into the grave on a wall, a photograph of a man wearing a white bra and slip, his grandfather, Midori, who was forced into detention at Fort Missoula during the United States' brutal campaign to punish and test the allegiances of its own Japanese American citizens. Have you ever really looked at someone as they really look at a photograph? When you read this book, you really, really look at someone as they really look at a photograph. It is a portal for the ghost of a ghost, which only knows to come closer. It's not just a document from which Brandon untangles the dead, but it's a portal through which the ghosts can show themselves to him. To exchange that kind of attention between the living and the dead is love."
— Zachary Schomburg, author of Mammother (2017)
The Week of Virtual Readings at Powell’s
July 15: Carlos Fonseca
Widely regarded as one of Latin America's best young writers, Carlos Fonseca is known for blending theory and fiction, creating stories with just as many edges as there are pages. His first novel, Colonel Lágrimas, began this tradition. It's a tale of overly ambitious mathematicians and philosophical anarchists that one reviewer deemed "literary ventriloquism." His follow-up, Natural History, con- tinues in the spirit of experimental style, introducing a cast of fashion designers and museum curators with fraught family histories. Fonseca will be joined by his translator, Megan McDowell.
July 16: Matt Ruff
It takes healthy doses of imagination and cynicism to task yourself with sketching out what next-generation internet culture may look
like, a burden Matt Ru has embraced with open arms. His latest novel is 88 Names, a literary joy ride through a thought-up world of video games and virtual reality. It is one part cyber thriller, another part "twisted romantic comedy," carefully balancing the politics of the gaming world with the absurdist realities of the games themselves. Ru will be joined in conversation by author Christopher Moore.
July 17: Zach St. George
Zach St. George's The Journey of Trees is what is says on the tin—something of a travel memoir spanning continents and species, with sec- tions dedicated to the giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya and Monterey pine. St. George tracks down these trees and speaks to the people who care about them most, entering the woods with conversation- alists, biologists and foresters whose life's work is to keep things alive. St. George will be joined in conversation by author—and, incidentally, creator of the podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King—Robert Moor.
July 20: Eric Swalwell
The latest in a long line of resistance novels by resisting politicians is Endgame, Congressman Eric Swalwell's account of President Trump's impeachment trial and the inner forces that consistently work to curb his rogue actions. The book begins with Swalwell's own political history before delving into his time as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee, investigating foreign interference in our elections and the testimony of our thoroughly unorthodox leader. Swalwell will be joined in conversation by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.
July 21: Diane Zinna
For those drawn to sensationalist interpreta- tions of Scandinavian folklore, Diane Zinna is the latest author to publish work centered on the unsettling, if not joyously colorful, Midsommar's Eve celebration. It's also worth noting that Zinna began work on the novel over a decade ago, some 12 years before the cult favorite horror film was released. The All-Night Sun brings a grieving American teacher to her friend's Swedish home to reset, introducing her to Midsommar traditions that take a turn for the worse. Zinna will be joined in conversation by Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society.
See powells.com for registration information.