Two American Novels: Libra and McTeague

At first glance these two might not appear obvious companions. Published eighty-nine years apart, one traces the profound convolutions that led up to JFK’s assassination, “the moment that broke the back of the American century”, while simultaneously questioning the value of attempting to create narrative around such moments at all; the other is a naturalist novel with a much more straightforward style about the human failings that destroy a marriage, but may also destroy the dream of the American West, even America itself. What links them, to my mind, is that sense of individual experience being used to make wider comments about the sweep and nature of history, and about the particularities of the American national project. In the order I read them, then:

Libra, by Don DeLillo (1988): This is probably best known as DeLillo’s Lee Harvey Oswald novel. It does, in fact, follow Oswald from his childhood—deprived, fatherless, with a hardworking but also whiny and overbearing mother—through his youthful reading of communist literature, his enlistment in the Marines, his development of leftist convictions and his defection to Soviet Russia, where he marries a Russian woman but returns to the US after only a few years. Libra parallels this strand with a narrative set in the eighteen months leading up to Kennedy’s assassination, in which disillusioned CIA operatives, furious about a perceived lack of support for anti-communist Cuban fighters during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, hatch a plan to stage an attempted murder of the president and pin it on the Castro regime. At some point along the line, the “attempted” part of this plan disappears; it’s never clear how, why, or who is responsible for the change. This is in keeping with Libra as a stylistic whole, which DeLillo constructs as two basically coherent agglomerations of many different individual thoughts, perspectives, and obsessive tics. (Jack Ruby can’t stop asking people if they think he’s “a queer”; Oswald’s mother can’t stop presenting her inner monologue as if it’s testimony in front of a juvenile court judge.)

Over the course of the novel, DeLillo returns again and again to the idea of history as an unstoppable force, but also as something that a person can enter suddenly, usually by means of violence. The sense of Oswald as somehow destined to be the man who shoots the president is presented to us, but also undermined, both by DeLillo’s inclusion of the “gunman on the grassy knoll” (in Libra, this man is a disaffected Cuban, Raymo, working for a CIA-and FBI-supported but non-affiliated group called Alpha 66; Raymo’s head shot is what actually kills the president, though no one else in the novel knows this) and by a third plot strand set closer to the time of the book’s writing. In this, an analyst called Nicholas Branch attempts to collate a full, if secret, account of the assassination for the Agency. Branch is swamped by paper, the tiniest minutiae of the most vaguely connected individuals sent to him for assessment and inclusion. His task, he ultimately decides, is impossible and pointless: no accounting, no matter how full, can be full enough, and so it is self-defeating even to try. There is a moment of slightly-too-obvious narratorial intrusion in relation to this conclusion, in which history and fiction are explicitly compared. DeLillo doesn’t need it: his point—that an obsession with historical truth and completeness is inevitable in an age of increasing technological surveillance, and yet still futile—is already well made. Reading Libra is, nevertheless, an engrossing, thrilling, and saddening experience (it’s impossible not to conclude that Oswald, guilty though he was, was manipulated by absolutely everyone involved in the assassination plot). It may well make it onto my Books of the Year list.

McTeague: a Story of San Francisco, by Frank Norris (1899): The subtitle seems to me to be essential to Norris’s project here, which is not only to tell a story about a rather dim, if well-intentioned, working man who is elevated by love only for his and his wife’s innate flaws to ruin their happiness irreparably, but also to tie that story into the mythos of the American West characterised by the Gold Rush and, more specifically, by the city of San Francisco. The Bay Area has a long history of colonisation, but in 1848, gold was found in California, and within six years, the population of San Francisco had exploded from 200 souls to about 36,000. McTeague was the basis of a 1924 silent film (now mostly lost) entitled Greed, and that, I think, tells you a lot of what you need to know about the driving energy behind Norris’s novel.

The plot kicks into motion when McTeague’s fiancée, Trina (the wooing and winning of whom constitutes the novel’s first third, approximately), wins five thousand dollars by total chance in the national lottery. The sudden advent of wealth activates a latent but incredibly powerful innate miserliness in her character; she invests her windfall, hoards small change, lies to her husband about the amount of her savings. When McTeague’s jealous former best friend (and Trina’s former suitor), Marcus, informs City Hall that McTeague is practicing dentistry without a college degree or license, he is forced into unemployment. Neither of our two protagonists has the strength of character for the love of their early married days to withstand hard times, and they swiftly slide into penury, drink, and physical abuse. Meanwhile, their degeneration is paralleled with two other couples. There is the elderly, shy Old Grannis and Miss Baker, who live in the same tenement building, and whose delicate late-life romance is mostly unspoken. Then there is Maria Macapa, the building’s Mexican maid, who tells tales of a phenomenally valuable gold dinner service supposedly once owned by her ancestors; she marries the Jewish junk-man Zerkow, whose obsession with her stories of gold starts out unhealthy and quickly becomes pathological and abusive in its turn. Maria and Zerkow are both unfortunate racist caricatures, while McTeague and Trina are caricatures of the poor and ignorant (although I find this angle much less interesting than Jerome Loving, in his introduction to the Oxford World’s Classics edition of McTeague, appears to).

What interests me more is Norris’s reliance on symbolism: gold, entrapment, death. McTeague carries a songbird in a little gilt cage wherever he goes, and it makes him identifiable enough to lead to his downfall at the novel’s end. Trina’s love of money becomes almost explicitly masturbatory, including scenes during which she pours out her savings on the bed, rolls around on it naked, sleeps on it, and puts gold pieces in her mouth. Maria (who makes a habit of stealing from tenants) is eventually murdered by Zerkow in a frenzy of goldlust and frustration. The final two chapters, which are oddly unnecessary but fascinating, take us right out of the city into mining and cattle country, where gold is king, and eventually into Death Valley, where the baroquely awful fate of McTeague is sealed. It’s not a subtle novel, but it’s extremely interested in the destructive power of avarice, and makes its point by connecting the relationship of two individuals to the tides of change sweeping a nation, while the vivid character work and Norris’s grasp of descriptive detail make it compelling reading. It would be a very apt novel for high school literature classes, I think—there’s enough obvious symbolism and thematic material to make it useful for teenagers learning how to parse texts, but it also feels thrilling and lively and (crucially) a bit weird, much more so than hoary old Of Mice and Men. I wonder why it’s not taught more often?


Love Your Library, February 2023

Rebecca of Bookish Beck runs this monthly meme, posting on the last Monday of every month. Relatively few library books this month due to our San Francisco holiday, but I’ve still managed a few loans, and as ever, the resources of the public and private libraries are invaluable!


Super-Infinite: the Transformations of John Donne, by Katherine Rundell (2022): A shimmering biography of my favourite metaphysical poet that looks at him through the various personae and roles that he inhabited throughout his life. Bound to draw new readers to Donne as well as bring already-confirmed fans back to his work. A highly-deserved Baillie Gifford Prize winner! I wrote more fully about it here.

If on a winter’s night a traveller, by Italo Calvino (1979, transl. William Weaver): My first full-length Calvino novel and a delightful, playful love letter to reading and readers. It gets a little self-involved in the middle parody segments, but mostly this struck me as a charming work of fantastika in the vein of Borges. I wrote about it more fully here.

The Road to San Giovanni, by Italo Calvino (2009, transl. Tim Parks): Five essays in a short collection, some (including the title one) autobiographical reminiscence, others more philosophical in nature. All are beautifully written and highly evocative. I think Calvino’s nonfiction may be just slightly winning over his fiction for me at the moment! I wrote about it more fully here.

Kolymsky Heights, by Lionel Davidson (1994): Read as ebook during our flight to California, and the only library book I haven’t written about at longer length this month. A fantastically involved and detailed literary thriller about a man infiltrating a Siberian research station—it’s the kind of style that clearly drives some readers mad, because so much of it is about the details of flights and trains, transportation and contacts, but I absolutely love that stuff. The hero, French-Canadian-Indigenous Johnny Porter, is sort of a superman, but he’s also insouciant and likeable. He uses his racial ambiguity and linguistic talents to blend in almost anywhere in a way that says a lot about human preconceptions and our desire to connect with other people on even the slenderest of pretexts, and how that can be used against us, but also how that kind of mental and social hospitality is a virtue to be protected in a cynical world. I’m also a sucker for technical descriptions of skilled people doing what they’re skilled at, of which Kolymsky Heights has plenty, and very well written at that. I’ll certainly read more Davidson in the future.

McTeague, by Frank Norris (1899): Subtitled “A Story of San Francisco”, this felt like an obvious choice for holiday reading! Following the titular McTeague, an unlicensed dentist living in a working-class neighbourhood of SF during the Progressive Era, through his awakening to love, his marriage to the beautiful Trina Sieppe (which causes a permanent rift between him and his best friend Marcus), through to the devastating effects of avarice and envy on their marriage. It all ends badly and also kinda trippily. I’m planning a double review of this and Don DeLillo’s Libra, so I won’t say too much more about it here.

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, by (duh) Eudora Welty (1980)

Reading six hundred-odd pages of anyone’s work gives you a pretty strong flavour of their style and preoccupations, I feel. I think it’s even more the case when you’re reading short stories as opposed to a novel; although a long novel can tell you a lot about its writer, a “collected stories of” gives you a decades-long overview of what interested them, how they developed and grew, which parts of their career suit you as a reader the best. I read two of Eudora Welty’s novels, Delta Wedding and The Robber Bridegroom, in 2013 for university, and the brief, comic The Ponder Heart in 2019, but her stories—maybe the work for which she is most famous—were almost entirely unknown to me except for the early, and also comic, “Why I Live at the P.O.”, which I read anthologised in a magazine as a preteen and didn’t love. Welty’s Collected Stories—published in 1980, though she lived until 2001—shows a fascinating trajectory from her early interest in Southern comic grotesques in the early1940s, through to the linked and subtler Morgana stories of the late ’40s, and a few cosmopolitan settings creeping in during the early 1950s.

Her first collection, A Curtain of Green, is from 1941, and most of the stories are very short, not more than four or five pages. They often turn on characters whose understanding of the world around them is limited, private, or personal—the deaf-mute couple of “The Key”, for example, or the put-upon old maid in the story named after her, “Clytie”, who ends up drowning herself in the water barrel, her legs sticking up in the air in a horrible, hilarious final image. In “Flowers for Marjorie”, a man stabs his pregnant wife, then goes out to buy her flowers, seemingly only recognising what he’s done upon his return to find her dead and still sitting in the same position at the window. “A Curtain of Green” is an oblique look at a widow’s grief through her creation of a jungle-like garden; it barely goes anywhere, but I loved it for its landscape description and for the way Welty shows the emotional in the physical realm, as the widow loses herself in the greenery and thereby finds relief from her sorrow. “A Worn Path” is probably the most famed in this collection, as it’s so heavily anthologised, dealing with an elderly black woman named Phoenix undertaking a long journey on foot into the nearest big town to collect medication for a chronically ill grandson. Her dignity and endurance are contrasted beautifully with the hazards she undergoes simply moving through the world, in the form of a white man with a shotgun who jokingly threatens her with it. Welty writes that Phoenix stands “absolutely still” as he waves the gun, her verbal response carefully careless so as not to offend him, and the man lets her pass. It’s a very subtle moment, and the best in A Curtain of Green.

The Wide Net and Other Stories, published in 1943, is similar in tone and content. The title story is a bit of a standout, in which a man’s pregnant wife writes what appears to be a suicide note, prompting him to spend the whole day dragging the river with dozens of neighbours, only to find her quite well at home when he returns. I liked “Livvie”, too, in which a very young woman marries a very old man and, at the moment of his death, grasps her new-found liberation with both hands while managing to maintain respect for her husband (who, it appears, has been kind). Other than these two, though, The Wide Net didn’t strike me as the strongest of Welty’s work.

The stories in The Golden Apples (1949), on the other hand, are almost uniformly excellent. They’re also much longer, most running to 20-30 pages, and are all interconnected, taking place in the fictional town of Morgana and county of MacLain, Missisippi. Faulkner-like (I’m thinking of stories from The Unvanquished and Go Down Moses, specifically), they span generations in a small community, often picking up in middle age with characters we first met as teenagers. “June Recital” is spectacular, practically a novella in length, about, well, a lot of things, but primarily focusing on the German piano teacher Miss Eckhart and her love for her most gifted student, the irrepressible and indifferent Virgie Rainey. “Moon Lake”, in which local girls and “orphans” camp together for a week on the shores of a local lake and a tragedy is only narrowly averted, is another little masterpiece of character and individuality, orphan leader Easter contrasted brilliantly with the deeply bourgeois Jinny Love Stark and our thoughtful narrator Nina. “Music From Spain”, hilariously, is set in San Francisco, where I am currently on holiday—a character from one of the oldest Morgana families has moved there and married, and the inciting incident of the story is him slapping his wife one morning. Propelled by a sense of shame and untethering, he embarks on a day-long odyssey around the city in the company of a largely mute Spanish musician whom he saves from being run over. It’s a kind of mini-Ulysses.

Her last full collection, The Bride of the Innisfallen (1955), has several stories that seem to represent a kind of experimental departure in setting: one, “Circe”, is the only Welty story to my knowledge that constitutes historical fiction, while “The Bride of the Innnisfallen” and “Going to Naples” both deal with groups of people thrown together by long-distance travel—to Ireland and Italy, respectively—and the social complexities of immigration. Welty lived in Europe for a time as a Guggenheim Fellow, and I imagine her experiences there were influences on this new stretching of herself in her writing. Her production of short stories wound down in the ’60s; there are only two stories from that decade to round off this volume, although one, “Where is the Voice Coming From?”, is famous for having been written immediately after Welty heard of the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. She writes it in the first person, in the voice of his killer, and said it was composed within a single evening. It is a terrifying piece of ventriloquism, comprehending and laying bare the banality of violent racism.

She apparently feared being compared unfavourably to William Faulkner, but Eudora Welty’s style is totally her own, and her willingness to write from any perspective—her narrators are white and black, men, women, and children, poor people, professionals, and the fading dregs of Southern high society—sets her profoundly apart from Faulkner. (I like his work a lot, but he doesn’t do that.) Her penultimate novel, Losing Battles (1970), is on my TBR at the moment in a lovely Virago edition I snatched up at a local Oxfam; I won’t delay in getting to it.

This is the second book towards my American Classics reading project—going well so far!

The Great Reread, #3: The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (2017). First read: April 2017.

The book was written when the author identified as a woman and a lesbian; they have since come out as trans non-binary and go by they/them pronouns. I have kept original she/her pronouns in this review on the grounds that it deals with work made by someone who identified as a woman when it was published (and this book continues to be published under the name “Alexandria” instead of “Alex”). I would really welcome feedback from those who know more/have lived experience—if it’s better practice for me to change the pronouns, please let me know in the comments.

Please note that this is a book dealing with historic child sexual abuse and the murder of a child, so if that content is difficult for you, feel free to skip this one.

What I thought the first time: In my April 2017 Superlatives, I called it my “hands-down favourite” of the month! “I liked a lot of the books I read in April,” I wrote, “but none of them are going to stay with me like The Fact of a Body. Written by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, a qualified lawyer with an MFA, it’s part true crime narrated in flawless novelistic prose, part attempt to exorcise the ghosts of Marzano-Lesnevich’s own abusive past. She does this by facing their echoes in the case of Ricky Langley, who admitted to killing a little boy called Jeremy Guillory in 1993. It’s a stunning piece of work: never sensationalistic, never sentimental, always sharply intelligent about the law and human nature, and yet full of understanding. I absolutely adored it. I want it to be huge.”

What I thought this time: Well, first things first: I still adore it. It’s still stunning. Marzano-Lesnevich can really write, and her relentless drive to understand the motives of people who do awful things—particularly to children—still leads her to some extraordinary insights. Nearly six years on, the book stands up.

I noticed two things on this re-read that I don’t think I’d registered in quite the same way before. The first is Marzano-Lesnevich’s own family history, the “memoir” part of the subtitle. Her grandfather sexually abused her and her younger sister for years when they were children, and when she eventually told her parents about it, the family response was to never discuss it openly or admit that it had happened. Her grandfather continued to be a part of their lives (although they were never left alone with him again, so her parents obviously had some kind of agreement.) When, just before going to college, she at last confronts him, he doesn’t deny it—in fact, he’s almost defiant, pointing out that exactly the same thing had happened to him when he was a child.

This leads nicely on to the second thing this re-read threw up for me, which was how the generational effects of trauma in Marzano-Lesnevich’s family—what social workers call “the cycle of abuse”—are paralleled with Ricky Langley’s life. Although Ricky’s siblings all say he was loved and cared for, he was also the child of parents who had, the year before his birth, survived a hideous car crash that killed two of their other children. Ricky was conceived while his mother was in a full body cast. (Hard to tell, as Marzano-Lesnevich says, whether it was rape or consensual. Like many things about Ricky’s story, like many things about the narrative fictions that the law requires, the truth is unknowable.) The cocktail of medications that Bessie Langley imbibed during her pregnancy, and her reliance on alcohol for the management of her emotional pain, becomes a significant part of Ricky’s trial twenty-odd years later, as lawyers attempt to determine his mental capacity. Ricky, meanwhile, is on record as having begged for help with his feelings of attraction to children, never to be taken seriously by medical or government officials, until he ends up killing Jeremy Guillory—a terrible failure by the state of both killer and victim.

It’s not a sensational book, though it is a sad one; it’s bleak in that it is about awful things, but it never suggests that there’s no possibility of hope or redemption or recovery. Jeremy’s mother, Lorilei, testifies on Ricky’s behalf at his second trial: she does not want him to receive a death sentence. Marzano-Lesnevich visits her grandparents’ graves and tells them that she loves them. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, she implies, but given enough of it, we can grow.

Calvino Thoughts

Seems like this might, amongst other things, be the year of Italo Calvino: I enjoyed The Complete Cosmicomics immensely, and also felt there might be more dimensions to Calvino’s writing, so hunted down two of his other works, one fiction, one non. Herewith, some thoughts!

If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979, transl. William Weaver): This seems to be one of the few books in the world whose title is always written like it’s a sentence, not a title, uncapitalised. It has a famed premise, but in case you don’t know: the opening pages address you, the reader, and describe the experience you’re about to have reading the book, suggesting that you put your feet up, get comfortable, yell at whoever’s in the next room to turn the TV down (or maybe just shut the door). “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” the narrator inquires, before the disclamatory, “All right. You know best.” The next chapter describes the first chapter of the book as “you” read it, but it moves from describing (“The novel begins in a train station”) to inserting you into the action. Then it stops. The reader character attempts to locate the rest of the book, but keeps finding only other beginnings to other novels. In the interstices of his search for the original of the book he started reading (it’s definitely a he), he meets an Other Reader, Ludmilla, with whom he falls in love. There are ten book beginnings, interspersed with chapters following the Reader on his quest through bookshops, academia, publishing, and automated literature-producing scams. Some of the books the Reader finds are invariably more interesting than others. I lost focus a bit in most of the middle ones, which seem to be pastiching less engaging genres, and in the more overtly philosophical musings on the Death of the Author, which are informed by Calvino’s friendships with Barthes and Foucault and the reader-reception theory guys. But the novel really is a funny, playful, enchanting love letter to reading, to readers, to books, and fully lives up to its billing as a postmodernist masterpiece without being (too) obnoxious. A great chaser to Cosmicomics!

The Road to San Giovanni (2009, transl. Tim Parks): A collection of five essays which range from Calvino’s childhood memories of the cinema to a hilariously serious disquisition on the significance of taking out the bins. The collection opens with a beautiful essay evoking his walking, with his father, to San Giovanni, where they owned a farm which was worked by employees and which yielded fresh produce that they carried back with them in panniers for the week’s cooking in their home nearer town. Calvino uses it as a jumping-off point for exploring his relationship with his father, but also for thinking about changes in land use and society in post-war Italy, about how adolescents (and humans) never really know what they’ve got til it’s gone, as Joni Mitchell would say. This is one of my favourites (the other is the one about the bins, “La Poubelle Agréée”, which takes in the social contract, French bureaucracy, gender relations, and the psychoanalytic functions of waste removal). Another, much shorter, essay—maybe the most affecting—revisits a memory of a botched attack on a village in which Calvino participated as an anti-fascist fighter in the Italian Resistance. It has a very different tone, much less playful, quietly horrified. Finally, there is “From the Opaque”, a highly poetic contemplation of the shape of the world. It’s too etiolated and abstruse to work very well for me, but may well be a stylistic holy grail for a different kind of reader. Fantastically varied, without exception beautifully written—this served as a lovely taster introduction to Calvino’s nonfiction.

I was prompted, in fact, by the success of both of these to pick up another collection of his essays, entitled Collection of Sand, from an Oxfam bookshop over the weekend—so there will probably be another installation of Calvino Thoughts coming soon-ish from me!

Have you read either of these? Do you have a favourite Calvino?

Super-Infinite: the Transformations of John Donne, by Katherine Rundell #readindies

Super-Infinite: the Transformations of John Donne, Katherine Rundell (2022)

John Donne has been in my top five—no, top two—poets of all time since I was about fourteen. I can’t remember where I first encountered his work, but I became steadily more fascinated by it throughout high school: the close-reading techniques with which American pedagogy of the mid-2000s chose to teach poetry to teenagers lent themselves to the knotty syntax and sometimes shocking metaphors of his love poems. Later in high school, I procured a copy of his prose work Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, written when he believed himself near death. That copy also included some excerpts from his sermons, including the famous “No man is an island” section. When a friend of mine killed himself the summer before my junior year (lower sixth, in English parlance, or year twelve; I was sixteen), Donne’s refusal to look away from the realities of death and desire were something of a life raft. One English class required us to undertake a kind of self-expressive art project; I made an “altered book” full of quotations, postcards, photos cut out from magazines, abstract designs. The endpapers are painted a visceral pinkish-red, and on the very first page I wrote, in block-capital black letters, “I AM A LITTLE WORLD MADE CUNNINGLY/OF ELEMENTS, AND AN ANGELIKE SPRITE”—the first two lines of Donne’s Holy Sonnet V. (I didn’t know then that most modern editions alter some of his spellings: “angelike” is usually rendered “angelic”.) He is setting out his stall with those words, and so am I: or, as Katherine Rundell puts it in her biography of him, he believed that if you “tap a human… they ring with the sound of infinity.”

Rundell is also an author with whom I’ve had very good experiences in the past—her children’s novels, including The Wolf Wilder and Rooftoppers, are phenomenally successful because they are a rare example of contemporary writing for children that does not treat them like idiots. Courage, adventure, and a thread of real loss—the truth of reality—runs through them all. They are fantasies that take place in our world, more or less, where the magic is to be found in humans, in friendship. She’s also a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, specialising academically in Renaissance literature. That certainty of human magic is a trait she shares with Donne, a poet she both adores and sees clearly in all his fallibility (unlike his earliest biographer, his friend Izaak Walton, whose hagiographical approach comes in for a bit of heavy weather from Rundell). They are a match made in heaven, at least from my perspective.

What Super-Infinite does so very well—and in this it is a lot like another literary biography that has transcended the strictures of its genre recently, Alex Christofi’s Dostoevsky in Love—is walk a thrilling line between assuming too much familiarity and over-explaining. If you are fairly familiar with Donne’s work, you will find yourself excited to read the poetry again, perhaps to explore the prose you don’t know as well. (I found myself trying, with increasing urgency, to find a complete collection of his sermons; they are commercially available only as extracts in Oxford World’s Classics and Penguin volumes. I’ve ordered the former.) If you have never read Donne before, Rundell’s unabashed partisanship and impassioned advocacy will make you unquenchably curious to see what it’s all about. She chooses her quotations intelligently, showing off the range of his talents: the sexiness, the wit, the harshness, the sheer weirdness. His reputation is for literary difficulty, but in none of the extracts Rundell highlights is he impossible to understand—brilliant, yes; obfuscatory, no.

As the subtitle might suggest, Super-Infinite organises itself by tracking Donne’s transformations throughout his life, from “The Prodigious Child” through “The (Unsuccessful) Adventurer”, “The Anticlimactically Married Man”, to “The Dean”. (He became Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.) Transformation—the mutability of the body, the variability of the soul—is key to his writing, too. Rundell captures the extremes of Donne’s thought, his hope and despair, his faith and his irreverence, his love and his scorn, mapping him through every change. It’s a fantastically appropriate way to write about a man who could describe his lover as a murderous vapour, who saw the nature of his desire reflected not in flowers or birds but a mathematical instrument, who asked God to “break, blow, burn, and make me new“. What a well-deserved winner of last year’s Baillie Gifford Prize!

Published by Faber, Super-Infinite counts as part of Reading Independent Publishers Month, hosted by Kaggsy and Lizzy.