Archives par étiquette : Frances Goldin Literary Agency

THE OTHER VALLEY de Scott Alexander Howard

Written in exquisite, spare prose, this literary debut novel is a cross between Kazuo Ishiguro’s speculative work, the clever fabulism of Ted Chiang, and the heart-rending search for where it all went wrong in Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library.

THE OTHER VALLEY
by Scott Alexander Howard
Atria/Simon & Schuster, Spring 2024
(via Frances Goldin Literary Agency)

Sixteen-year-old Odile Ozanne is an awkward, quiet girl, but everyone knows she’s destined to land a coveted seat on the Conseil. In her apprenticeship, she competes to become one of the judges to decide who amongst the town’s residents may travel across the border. If she earns the position, she’ll decree who may be escorted deep into the woods, who may cross the border’s barbed wire fence, who may make the arduous trek over the western mountain range — or perhaps the eastern range—to descend into the next valley over. It’s the same valley, the same town. However, to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness. The only border crossings permitted by the Conseil are mourning tours: furtive viewings of the dead in towns where the dead are still alive.
Odile, wise beyond her years, will surely pass the Conseil’s vetting. But when she happens upon a mourning tour she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes her dear friend Edme’s parents have crossed the border from the east, from twenty years in the future, to view their son still alive in Odile’s present.
Edme, who’s so funny and light. Edme, who’s a violin virtuoso at just sixteen! Edme, who’s the first boy to even see Odile, to really like her…. And it’s Edme who’s going to die.
Sworn to secrecy by the Conseil in order to preserve the timeline, Odile finds herself drawn even closer to the doomed boy. When Edme dies far sooner than Odile expects, when she does nothing to thwart his fate, she’s deeply shaken. The loss, her foreknowledge, the weight of her rare and varied grief all throw Odile’s own future, her adult life, into a devastating, downward spiral.
If your soul was stricken by the years, your teeth bloodied from all of life’s blows, would you risk being seen by the armed patrols, would you gamble with everyone’s lives, with your own, with the annihilation of an entire timeline to hike across the border and get back to where it all went wrong?
THE OTHER VALLEY is a dark, modern fable about time and fate. Readers will rush breathlessly to the end to see if the spark of hope in their hearts for Odile will grow again into the bright promise of her youth—or collapse into unchangeable catastrophe.

Scott Alexander Howard has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto, where he wrote an award-winning dissertation on literary emotions and the passage of time. His articles have appeared in journals such as Philosophical Quarterly and Analysis. Upon completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, he decided to pursue fiction. He now lives in Vancouver.

YONNONDIO de Tillie Olsen

The hopes, struggles, and dreams of a poor Wyoming family in the 1920s are revealed in their quest for a better life. Written by the author in the 1930s and rediscovered by her in the 1970s.

YONNONDIO:
From the Thirties
by Tillie Olsen
Delacorte Press, 1974
(via Frances Goldin Literary Agency)

YONNONDIO follows the heartbreaking path of the Holbrook family in the late 1920s and the Great Depression as they move from the coal mines of Wyoming to a tenant farm in western Nebraska, ending up finally on the kill floors of the slaughterhouses and in the wretched neighborhoods of the poor in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mazie, the oldest daughter in the growing family of Jim and Anna Holbrook, tells the story of the family’s desire for a better life – Anna’s dream that her children be educated and Jim’s wish for a life lived out in the open, away from the darkness and danger of the mines. At every turn in their journey, however, their dreams are frustrated, and the family is jeopardized by cruel and indifferent systems.

Tillie Olsen (1912-2007) was an American author of fiction and nonfiction whose slim body of work was very influential for her treatment of the lives of women and the poor. She was one of the first writers to draw attention to why women have been less likely to become published authors (and why they receive less attention than male authors when they are published). In April 2021, A.O. Scott, New York Times critic at large and co-chief film critic, included her in his essay series of the most influential authors, and credited her with changing the « study of American literature, opening its canon to neglected voices and traditions. »

DEMON COPPERHEAD de Barbara Kingsolver

A modern retelling of Dickens’s David Copperfield, which transposes that epic novel, chapter by chapter, to a modern place and time: the American south.

DEMON COPPERHEAD
by Barbara Kingsolver
‎ HarperCollins USA, Fall 2022
(via Frances Goldin Literary)

DEMON COPPERHEAD is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. A modern retelling of Dickens’s David Copperfield, which transposes that epic novel, chapter by chapter, to a modern place and time: the American south.

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of nine bestselling novels, including The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees. Her work of narrative nonfiction is the enormously influential bestseller Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Kingsolver’s work has been translated into more than 20 languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, the highest honor for service through the arts in the United States, as well as the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her body of work.

FILTERWORLD de Kyle Chayka

Author of The Longing For Less and a contributor to The New Yorker and NYT Magazine, Kyle Chayka’s FILTERWORLD focuses on the history and investigation of living in a world ruled by algorithms, which profoundly determine and shape culture in both digital and physical spaces, leading to flat and frictionless experiences that are remaking human identity.

FILTERWORLD:
How Algorithms Flattened Culture
by Kyle Chayka
Doubleday, Fall 2023
(via Frances Goldin Literary)

You’ve seen the smooth, uncanny artifacts: a blank, white café that looks like it could be located anywhere in the world; TikTok dance videos repeating in a dull echo; restaurant design and food plating which begs to be posted on Instagram; endlessly bingeable streaming television; influencers’ faces made up and surgically altered towards a certain photogenic ideal. While appearing in different mediums, these pieces of culture are characterized by a slick sameness. Rather than provoking us, they’re pleasing, ambient, frictionless.
In this new book, Kyle Chayka argues that these seemingly disparate cultural phenomena all have been shaped by a similar force: the algorithms governing and filtering the content that appears on digital platforms. We increasingly live in a world where the culture we encounter is not simply curated by these algorithms, but in which algorithms profoundly determine and shape culture itself in both digital and physical spaces. Chayka names this new reality, of a world both inescapably mediated and changed by algorithmic filtration, “Filterworld”.
In FILTERWORLD, Chayka traces a brief history of how we arrived in this place—from the rise of the algorithm through the corresponding erosion of human curation and taste—before launching a penetrating exploration of the flat hallmarks of Filterworld byproducts and the way that algorithmically determined taste is fundamentally reshaping human identity. Ultimately a pointed critique of the frictionless culture of Filterworld, the book turns towards what we might do to escape and dismantle this numbing cycle.
Building on the popular criticism Kyle Chayka has published for both
The New Yorker online and elsewhere, FILTERWORLD is the product of a career spent as one of our keenest observers of the intersection of technology and modern culture. While much has been written about the way that algorithms impact everything from news to policy, there has been no major book published on the impact of algorithms on culture.
FILTERWORLD will appeal strongly to readers of Jia Tolentino’s
Trick Mirror and Jenny Odell’s How To Do Nothing: a book that not only seeks to give language to the slippery ways that technology is reshaping our lived experience, but also gives readers tools to imagine a world in which things could be otherwise.

Kyle Chayka is a freelance writer and critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, the New Republic, Rolling Stone, n+1, Vox, the Paris Review, and other publications. He has contributed chapters to Reading Pop Culture: A Portable Anthology and A Companion to Digital Art. Chayka is cofounder of Study Hall, a newsletter and digital community for journalists. He began his career as a visual art critic for Hyperallergic in Brooklyn, and now lives in Washington, D.C.

MUTINOUS WOMEN de Joan DeJean

From distinguished scholar Joan DeJean, the secret history of the rebellious Frenchwomen who were exiled to colonial Louisiana and found power in the Mississippi Valley.

MUTINOUS WOMEN:
How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast
by Joan DeJean
Basic Books, April 2022

In 1719, a ship named La Mutine (the mutinous woman), sailed from the French port of Le Havre, bound for the Mississippi. It was loaded with urgently needed goods for the fledgling French colony, but its principal commodity was a new kind of export: women. Falsely accused of sex crimes, these women were prisoners, shackled in the ship’s hold. Of the 132 women who were sent this way, only 62 survived. But these women carved out a place for themselves in the colonies that would have been impossible in France, making advantageous marriages and accumulating property. Many were instrumental in the building of New Orleans and in settling Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, and Mississippi.
Drawing on an impressive range of sources to restore the voices of these women to the historical record, MUTINOUS WOMEN introduces us to the Gulf South’s Founding Mothers.

Joan DeJean is Trustee Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at Yale and Princeton. She is the author of eleven books on French literature, history, and material culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including most recently How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City (2014); The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began (2009); and The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (2005). She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Paris, France.