Just got in a wonderful collection of books by Portuguese author Jose Saramago (1922-2010). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1998. He had been writing and recognized for years, but Blindness was his breakout book in America, particularly after the film was released. His work is often fantastical, parable-like, and based in history. He writes some wonderful, long sentences and does not use punctuation conventionally, which gets him placed in the difficult or experimental camps. This is a great group of first American printings. Nearly all fine in fine dust jackets.
Though this does not include his entire English-language bibliography, it’s a good part of the material.
Just saw that this artist is having an exhibition next month. His work is called contemporary folk, outsider, naive, probably among other things, but I think it’s great work. He has been building this body of images for years, and there lies a consistency that I really appreciate. He’s a master of color and composition. Much of his earlier pieces were simple graphite on paper, but now there’s an equally appealing, and perhaps stronger collage component. I love that the collage elements are mostly his own little pieces attached to the surface, as opposed to primarily cutting out found images, though there is that too.
The work can seem crude, very personal, strange, even off-putting at times, but this is okay. He has a vast world of story telling and references, and it seems often to resemble the strangeness we all are accustomed to.
In addition to the flat work, he has exhibited many sculptures. These are buildings made of found and glued materials such as match boxes, paper, cardboard, etc. They are strange, precarious structures, that often remind me of decaying modernist, Eastern Bloc cities, worn out Brutalist architecture.
I had the opportunity to briefly meet Mr. Nordstrom, and his wife, the great Swedish painter Mamma Andersson, in New York for one of her openings. Well, it wasn’t a meeting so much, as I got in line to get books signed by them both and awkwardly say how much I love their work, but it was an incredible trip, taken last second and spontaneously. Check out his work if you have the chance.
Happy to have Wittgenstein’s Mistress come through our stock recently. I have always loved the early Dalkey Archive Press jackets, the ones vaguely resembling zines and Xerox. That is not to say it’s all “punk” or DIY, but with these jackets Dalkey brought some of that aesthetic, though refined, to their platform of heady, “experimental” literature. This title is of course one the most important from their list. David Foster Wallace famously wrote: “…that a novel this abstract and erudite and avant-garde that could also be so moving makes “Wittgenstein’s Mistress” pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country. [courtesy Salon article ]