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Title: First, the Raven
Sub-title: A Preface
By (author): Seth Rogoff
ISBN10-13: 1944697446 : 9781944697440
Format: Paperback
Size: 150x115mm
Pages: 210
Weight: .174 Kg.
Published: Sagging Meniscus Press - September   2017
List Price: 13.99 Pounds Sterling
Availability: In Stock   Qty Available: 14
Subjects: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Every so often a novel appears that demands a paradigm shift, that redefines what literature is and what its powers may be. This is such a work. A novel of seemingly modest dimensions, it relates, in scrupulously direct, clear, and naturalistic prose, a story of the tense reunion of two old friends in a Maine bar. That story, and the stories nested within it, while fascinating, are hardly melodramatic; not much happens of more consequence than the refilling of a beer glass. And yet, by the novel’s conclusion, the reader will be faced with a dilemma as unexpected and perplexing as any thriller could provide, and as piercing, substantial and profoundly involving as anything in the work of literature’s great psychologists. The first reading of this book is an unforgettable, shocking surprise; and each re-reading brings new rewards.
About The Author:
Seth Rogoff was born in Portland, Maine in 1976. He has translated several works by Franz Kafka, including T he Castle (2007). He is currently working on a collection of fictional lectures and a nonfiction book on the politics of dream interpretation. He has been a creative writing Fulbright Fellow in Berlin, where he lived for ten years. Since 2015, he has lived with his wife Jana and their two children in Prague.
Reviews:
“Seth Rogoff’s unconventional novel, First, the Raven: A Preface, proves highly innovative in its conceit and almost impossibly perfect in its execution. This is a tale of confined spaces and psychological discomfort -- a rendezvous, after nearly twenty years, between translator Sy Kirschbaum and playwright Gabe Slatky inside a downscale Maine bar during a blizzard. Kirschbaum, who has devoted his adult life to translating an epic Czech novel, has been summoned back to his New England hometown by his former lover, Ida, who is also Slatky’s wife and muse. As the two men engage in a raw, emotional pas de deux, we are swept into a world of lost time and fleeting hope. If any literary endeavor could stand at the nexus of My Dinner With Andre and The Iceman Cometh, this is the work. Although the influences are Bellow and Roth -- diluted with a chaser of Kafka -- the final product is decidedly an American original. First, the Raven runs broad and deep; it is an intelligent and inventive introduction to a voice of extraordinary power and promise.” -- Jacob M Appel, author of "Einstein’s Beach House" & "The Mask of Sanity"
“This dreamlike book, inspired by Kafka’s but also Havel’s city of Prague, creates a separate universe following its own laws, an enchanted island. The narrative is all at once intensely personal and historical, playfully esoteric and resolutely seducing.” -- Magdaléna Platzová, author of "Aaron’s Leap" & "The Attempt"
“A sad, wise novel about friends, foreign countries, and friends as foreign countries. I raise a glass to Rogoff’s First.” -- Joshua Cohen, author of "Book of Numbers" & "Moving Kings"
“First, the Raven is cleverly and forcefully narrated in a succession of monologues that take us to communist Prague, avant-garde Paris, and the mysticism of 19th century Germany. The history lesson of the Czech banned writer is conveyed with persistence reminiscent of Philip Roth. Central European authors Franz Kafka and Sándor Márai are echoed in this urgent and beautifully written prose.” -- Veronika Tuckerová, Harvard University
“Seth Rogoff’s First, the Raven is mesmerizing. The many-layered narrative takes us from The Battle of Piave to The Velvet Revolution as we explore the roles of historian, witness, and artist in the slaughterhouse of 20th Century Europe. The magic of the story is that it unfolds against a simple evening in a hockey bar in Maine where the cinematic battle between good and evil resolves in a kind of threadbare Chekhovian despair. First, the Raven is a brilliant and inspired work of fiction—both a profound novel of ideas and an elegant piece of storytelling.” -- Michael Dahlie, author of "The Best of Youth" & "A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living"
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