So, due back any day now from the printer, are galleys of Barbara Browning's debut novel, The Correspondence Artist (late-ish February 2011), a witty new comedy sure to delight fans of Nicholson Baker, Miranda July, and Charlie Kaufman.
The book was excerpted in Bomb Magazine this past summer, and will be excerpted in Knock this November.
Harry Mathews says, "The Correspondence Artist is smart, funny, sexy, knowledgeable, subtle, disturbing, light-hearted, obsessive, and tragic: a comedy that, I surmise, is wholly confessional and wholly imaginary."
Here's the story: Vivian, a writer, is carrying on a relationship with an internationally acclaimed artist. There are those who stand to profit — and suffer — from the revelation of her paramour’s identity, so in the service of telling her tale, she creates a series of fictional lovers. There is Tzipi, a sixty-eight-year-old Nobel-winning female Israeli writer; Binh, a twenty-something Vietnamese video artist; Santuxto, a poetic Basque separatist; and Djeli, a dreadlocked Malian world-music star.
Largely through Vivian’s e-mail correspondence, she divulges the story of their relationship, from their first meeting to their jumpy spam filter, which arrests the more explicit notes that result in Vivian being held captive in a tiger cage in a Berlin hotel/being chased by a Medusa-like woman on a Greek Island/imprisoned by a splinter cell of Basque separatists/in an African hospital with a bout of Dengue Fever.
Barbara Browning’s captivating wit and passionate intelligence make The Correspondence Artist a love story like none other.
Those interested in receiving Advanced Reader Copies of the book should write to Brian at brian[at]twodollarradio.com.
Here's an excerpt: