Gayle Brandeis & Jennifer Calkins
Writer Gayle Brandeis, probably most known for her Bellwether Prize-winning novel, The Book of Dead Birds, as well as other excellent works, and Seattle writer, evolutionary biologist, and attorney Jennifer Calkins read together here from just-released books. Gayle Brandeis is here with her powerful Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in Chorus (Black Lawrence Press), which recounts the killing of hundreds of women and girls late in the 16th- and then early 17th-centuries.
"'Just know we all have stories worth your time. Just know we're just starting to understand our own worth.' This is how Gayle Brandeis opens Many Restless Concerns. Countess Bathory of Hungary allegedly killed up to 650 girls and women between the years 1585 and 1609, in a variety of cruel, heartless ways. Brandeis brings these words to our attention—stab, strangle, pummel, hack, burn, drown, freeze, scald. 'Your body remembers even when you no longer have a body, some tender part of you still flinches; some immaterial nerves still flare,' she writes. 'We want you to bear witness,' voices the chorus. I urge you, the reader, to bear witness to these centuries of silent voices rising up clearly, often beautifully, more often tragically. Bear witness."—Alma Luz Villanueva.
For Jennifer Calkins, it is her novel, Fugitive Assembly (The 3rd Thing). "Fugitive Assemblage is mysterious, restless, searching, flat out beautiful, and finally, heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ve ever read grief in a way that feels so true. And then there is just this absolute pleasure in the language, the atmosphere, the constant move forward through the Southern California landscape and through history. Joan Didion meets Bhanu Kapil meets the films of Kelly Reichardt. It’s like a long, hot day that turns into a harrowing night, and yet at the end, somehow, there is a sense of peace." – Amina Cain.