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Now in paperback, a bewitching collection of stories and novellas that are “suspenseful, thought-provoking, mystical, and haunting” (Publishers Weekly)
Ranging from the seventeenth century to the present, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives draws upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories, and interrogation transcripts to create new and strange perspectives on our past and present. “An Outtake” chronicles an escaped slave’s take on liberty and the American Revolution; “The Strange History of Our Lady of the Sorrows” presents a bizarre series of events that unfold in Haiti and a nineteenth-century Kentucky convent; “The Aeronauts” soars between bustling Philadelphia, still-rustic Washington, and the theater of the U. S. Civil War; “Rivers” portrays a free Jim meeting up decades later with his former raftmate Huckleberry Finn; and in “Acrobatique,” the subject of a famous Edgar Degas painting talks back.
About the Author
John Keene is the author, co-author, and translator of a handful of books, including Annotations (1995) and Counternarratives (2015), both published by New Directions. Counternarratives received an American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a Republic of Consciousness Prize (UK), and a Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction. His most recent publication, Punks: New & Selected Poems (The Song Cave, 2021),received the 2022 National Book Award for Poetry, the Thom Gunn Award from the Publishing Triangle and a 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. A 2018 MacArthur Fellow, he is Distinguished Professor and serves as department chair at Rutgers University-Newark
Counternarratives is an extraordinary work of literature. John Keene is a dense, intricate, and magnificent writer.
— Christine Smallwood - Harper’s
Of the scope of William T. Vollmann or Samuel R. Delany, but with a kaleidoscopic intuition all its own, Counternarratives is very easily one of the most vividly imagined and vitally timed books of the year. I haven’t felt so refreshed in quite a while as a reader.
— Blake Butler - Vice
Keene exerts superb control over his stories, costuming them in the style of Jorge Luis Borges. Yet he preserves the undercurrent of excitement and pathos that accompanies his characters’ persecution and their groping toward freedom.
— Sam Sacks - The Wall Street Journal