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This one goes out to all of you who didn’t get everything done this week - and to all you parents who let your kid watch Sesame Street, they’re gonna grow up to be cooler than you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Lizzy Recommends: The Graveyard by Marek Hlasko, published by melvillehouse

The Graveyard has got my head spinning. I finished it about five minutes ago, thought in silence for about four, exclaimed “damn”, and picked up my computer to write this review. I’ll be thinking about this novel and trying to reconcile it in my head for days. I must have bookmarked 40 of it’s 140 pages, to go back and rethink later.

The Graveyard got Marek Hlasko exiled from Poland in the 50’s, and you’ll soon see why. It is an absolutely brutal takedown of the cruelties and inanities of everyday life under communism. The book tells the story of Franciszek Kowalski, a war hero and a loyal party member, and what happens to him after he is accused of drunkenly insulting a policeman. The beginning is almost Kafka-esque, but soon the bureaucracy and absurdity become far too real. We follow along with Kowalski as he comes to believe and admit his crime, and as he goes to his old wartime friends for help rehabilitating himself. As we do I think we must also be following along on a psychological journey that Hlasko himself took— from incredulity at his circumstances to righteous anger and a desperation that there must be a reason, to finally an understanding and a sort of relieved hopelessness. And is that all?

The Graveyard is, I suppose, a nihilist novel, but I’m not sure if it convinces me. “Man’s drama cannot be handed down to posterity: while one generation matures and accumulates experience, history produces a new generation of carefree folk who willingly join the ranks.”, Franciszek realizes. Kowalski and his contemporaries thought they were fighting for a grand cause and lived to see it destroyed, and to destroy it themselves. What does that realization do? Where can you go from there? Can’t our causes improve?

Read this book right away. I need someone to discuss it with!

WE'RE HIRING!

If you’ve ever found yourself checking out one of our book covers from across the room and thinking “I’d like to get myself all up in that creative process,” look no further. We’re seeking an experienced and passionate art director who’ll be responsible for the entire visual aesthetic of the company; we’re talking books, brochures, catalog, ads, the whole damn whale*. 

If you’re the one for us, let us know; click through to see the full posting. And if you know someone who’s the one for us, then be the best friend you can be and tag them/reblog!

*actual whale not provided b/c that’s wildly illegal (shoutout to US Fish & Wildlife Service)

The central character in Lynne Truss’s macabre tale is talkative, sarcastic, well-read – and a cat, writes Tom Cox.


Lynne Truss clearly likes cats – her 1995 collection of essays on single life was called Making the Cat Laugh – but in her new novel she doesn’t do anything to quell the fears of those who believe that all felines are plotting our downfall. “

Buy it here from melvillehouse

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Check out the new video series started by one of our awesome volunteers!

In the first episode, they discuss David Peace’s RED OR DEAD ( melvillehouse ). We guarantee you, though, Janet is thinking about Guns N’ Roses the entire time. :D

The Book Report is a weekly literary talk show hosted by Michael Schaub (NPR) and Janet Potter (The Millions).

Shappy’s #newrelease pick of the day: THE WEIRDNESS by Jeremy P. Bushnell. “I do say! I’m curious as a cat to dig into this strange little tome about Satan and the lengths one Billy Ridgeway will go to fulfill his dreams.” #novel #melvillehouse #weird

Courtesy of Janina of Logos Books & Records: “Guys. Melville House is the best. Already my favorite publisher for their resurrection of fantastic authors like Mikhail Bulgakov and Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, they also publish brilliant contemporary books.

The Ghost Network is fucking ruling. Out in May, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Philosophy, conspiracy, and pop music. Yes. Perfect. Get it. Thank you Liam!”

You are so welcome.

To the books that keep us up at night

"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald