Poet and novelist Rebecca Gisler joins us via Zoom to discuss her newly translated novel, About Uncle (Two Lines Press). Rebecca will be in conversation with translator Jordan Stump and Stephen Sparks, owner of Point Reyes Books.
“Wry and funny and rich in strange new forms of discomfort, About Uncle is a slim volume that cuts deep, revealing the soft ligaments of family relations and letting them gleam under the light.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun
This free event ia presented in partnership with Community Bookstore in Park Slope and Seattle's Third Place Books.
A freaky tale of isolation and the porous membranes between us, Rebecca Gisler's slim novel renders a collapsing world with equal parts aversion, fascination, and tenderness--for readers of Ottessa Moshfegh and Sayaka Murata.
At an age when she'd rather be making her own way in the world, an unnamed young woman finds herself moving to a small town at the seaside to care for her uncle. He's a disabled war veteran with questionable habits, prone to drinking, gorging, and hoarding--not to mention the occasional excursion down into the plumbing, where he might disappear for days at a time. When the world starts to shut down, Uncle and his niece become closer than ever. She knows his every move--every bathroom break he takes, every pill he swallows--and finds herself relying more and more on this strange man, her only company in a shrinking world. But then Uncle's health takes a turn for the worse: He's sent to a hospital that cares for cats, dogs, and Uncles, and any way for her to make sense of this eerie new reality, and her place within it, falls apart.
Poet-novelist Rebecca Gisler's debut novel, set against our increasingly disjointed world, welcomes readers into a home of shut-ins as cozy as it is claustrophobic. Gisler's bright, winding prose, masterfully translated from French by Jordan Stump, offers a rare witness to the complex ways in which we order our lives, for better or worse, inside and out.
About the participants
Rebecca Gisler, born in Zurich in 1991, is a graduate of the Swiss Literature Institute and of the Master's degree in Création littéraire at the University of Paris 8. She writes in German and French and translates her texts from one language into another. She has published poetry and prose in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the co-organizer of the series Teppich in the House of Literature Zürich. In 2020 Rebecca Gisler won the 28th Open Mike literature competition.
Jordan Stump is a Professor of French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; he has translated some thirty works of (mostly) contemporary French fiction, by such writers as Marie Redonnet, Eric Chevillard, and Scholastique Mukasonga, as well as seven works by Marie NDiaye, including the forthcoming Vengeance Is Mine. His translation of her The Cheffe was awarded the annual translation prize for fiction by the American Literary Translators’ Association.
Stephen Sparks is the owner of Point Reyes Books and Wayfinder Bookshop in Marin County, CA.