Private Novelist: Fiction (Paperback)
From the brilliant and incisive author of Mislaid—"a writer of extraordinary talent and range" (Jonathan Franzen) whose "capacity for inventions is immense" (BookForum)—comes a new collection of her earliest work: two wildly funny novellas (Sailing Towards the Sunset by Avner Shats and European Story for Avner Shats) available in one compact volume.
Years ago, Nell Zink resolved to write a book for her friend, the Israeli novelist Avner Shats, that would mirror his remarkable style. Unable to read his Hebrew, she was forced to start from scratch. Now, this tongue-in-cheek homage is available to Nell’s growing readership for the first time, accompanied by a second dazzling and imaginative work that breathes—at Shats’s request—the perfumed air of the Old Europe and stars a figure very much like Shats.
Sailing Towards the Sunset by Avner Shats is Zink’s faux-translation of Shats’s 1998 novel Lashut El Hashkia ("Sailing Towards the Sunset"). It flows with a narrative spin only the singular Zink could pull off—including both authentic and fictional versions of characters from Shats’s life and work such as the author herself.
A fast-moving portrait of expat artists, authors, and academics on fellowships at the Villa Romana in Florence, European Story for Avner Shats centers on a trio of three indelible characters: an Israeli writer vaguely reminiscent of Shats, a German specialist in ancient lint, and a beautiful and fraudulent Russian performance artist.
Demonstrating the hallmarks of Zink’s unique talent, Private Novelist is an intimate look into this acclaimed novelist’s early work that will please her coterie of admirers and further burnish her lustrous reputation.
Nell Zink grew up in rural Virginia. She has worked in a variety of trades, including masonry and technical writing. In the early 1990s, she edited an indie rock fanzine. Her books include The Wallcreeper, Mislaid, Private Novelist, and Nicotine, and her writing has appeared in n+1, Granta, and Harper’s. She lives near Berlin, Germany.
“Readers who enjoy smart, playful postmodernism will be glad that Private Novelist has finally been made public. Proof that experimental fiction can be fun.” — Kirkus Reviews