[[ BOOKS ]] ✮ Further Adventures in the Restless Universe Author Dawn Raffel – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Further Adventures in the Restless Universe

  1. says:

    Ultra condensed narratives winding around and through a family or thematically related series of family relationships Actually, narrative is misleading here Despite frequent dialogues, many of the traditional markings of narrative fiction characters, events are largely supplanted by words themselves and a kind of tone poem seepage of meaning from somewhere between them Unsurprisingly, Raffel thanks Diane Williams whose Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty I ve been reading simultaneously but Ra Ultra condensed narratives winding around and through a family or thematically related series of family relationships Actually, narrative is misleading here Despite frequent dialogues, many of the traditional markings of narrative fiction characters, events are largely supplanted by words themselves and a kind of tone poem seepage of meaning from somewhere between them Unsurprisingly, Raffel thanks Diane Williams whose Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty I ve been reading simultaneously but Raffel deploys her words with a littlespace for development, even allowing marked variations in her mid length pieces, diverging into a fairy tales and lists Still, none of these reachesthan a handful of pages, despite the sense of scope throughout I feel like I m going through the motions with this review a bit it s the problem I have digesting poetry and flash fiction in general somehow I have difficulty holding onto them, and thus less to say than I would like Especially when, as a reading experience, I liked this quite a bit


  2. says:

    When Michael Kimbell said that nobody is writing sentences like Dawn Raffel s sentences, he was not exaggerating Her lines, her stories, are spiky things that don t sit easily in the hand I felt a peculiar sort of stress as I read Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, newly published by Dzanc Books I was confronted with how the stories resist simple narrative and scene and dialogue, while at the same time luring me in with their intoxicating mood, the emotive power behind miscommunic When Michael Kimbell said that nobody is writing sentences like Dawn Raffel s sentences, he was not exaggerating Her lines, her stories, are spiky things that don t sit easily in the hand I felt a peculiar sort of stress as I read Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, newly published by Dzanc Books I was confronted with how the stories resist simple narrative and scene and dialogue, while at the same time luring me in with their intoxicating mood, the emotive power behind miscommunication, and the uncertain standing her characters like us readers have in the world There is something precise and potent in Raffel s brief tales of family, lovers, and attempts to connect twenty one stories are collected in this 100 page book each tale is a portal to the tender points that serve as a harmonic to our everyday talk and our deep memory.Raffel focuses especially on speech there are a lot of verbal exchanges here that are often manifested in one word banter In her conversation with Kimball, Raffel said that this minimalist approach to dialogue is intended to convey how most of us only hear a word or two of what others say What is on the page, then, is what sticks for these characters For readers navigating the exchanges, we experience both a rawness and mutedness to this filtered kind of conversation what is heard and, sometimes, meant, is set in high relief, while the lack of contextual words and verbal filler that we are accustomed to in speech gives these exchanges a dream like, underwater feel.At the same time, even outside of the speech in Raffel s stories, her writing is patently sonic it is evident that she hears every syllable of her stories To read them is to defamiliarize these syllables, to meet them again, anew Visible light covers only about one octave, speaking in musical terms That s the epigraph for Further Adventures, a translated quote from Max Born s The Restless Universe which Raffel s father used to read to her when she was young, and of which she understood nearly nothing Like Born, Raffel s book is interested in alternative octaves as a reader, the temptation to stick with what is visible, what we are familiar with in traditional storytelling, exacerbates the awe we feel when confronted with let us call it the invisible light What we see there, what rhymes and dissents from what we know in the visible light, feels essential.This is a collection that operates on its own pitch, its own time, its own light It is minimal storytelling only in it that is says nothing extra little galaxies are contained in these spare stories.For an unconventional collection of short stories published by an indie press, it is both surprising and pleasing to see it reviewed in high profile places no doubt that this is in part due to Raffel s career as a magazine editor in New York Among the responses Vanity Fair The stories in Dawn Raffel s astonishing Further Adventures in the Restless Universe Dzanc as as sharp and bright as stars Time Out New York Raffel s work sits comfortably with that of authors like Amy Hempel and Diane Williams Her prose is intense enough to make even everyday topics seem fire hot O, The Oprah Magazine Sharp, spare stories about women at, or approaching, the end of their ropes Publisher s Weekly Raffel s stripped to the bone prose is a model of economy and grace Booklist These reflective, well tempered fictions are bursting with energy, requiring readers to lookclosely at the world around them More Highly imaginative stories filled with sly wit To those weighty endorsements, add mine Book Review originally published at www.isak.typepad.com


  3. says:

    I love compression There are feelings and truths that can be captured only by using fewer words So Dawn Raffel is my kind of read There are 21 stories in this slim collection which has a cool black cover , some only a couple of pages long The protagonist is often a woman with a long train of memories, a mother, a grown daughter, someone who has emerged from a history of grandparents and great aunts and lost European and Midwestern worlds and lives People interrupt each other, don t listen I love compression There are feelings and truths that can be captured only by using fewer words So Dawn Raffel is my kind of read There are 21 stories in this slim collection which has a cool black cover , some only a couple of pages long The protagonist is often a woman with a long train of memories, a mother, a grown daughter, someone who has emerged from a history of grandparents and great aunts and lost European and Midwestern worlds and lives People interrupt each other, don t listen or sometimes heardeeply than with mere sense organs There are very short passages I love I was learning to use the computer at home I was processing words I kept violating something and, during a driving lesson You can pass, my father says, but you have to be quick Caution causes accidents and longer ones We cannot find the car in the lot, again Our ears burn, or mine do Wind off the lake holds a violence in winter My father says nothing The building from which we have just made an exit is already locked its churning stars extinguished, planets suspended, moons switched off It is a very old facility It rests on a spit, a peninsula, a man made extension, apart form the city, the center of the city with its steam and vibration The lot is near empty, the sky too low Now I remember, my father says We re not here


  4. says:

    I really enjoyed the dream like quality of these short stories More poetry than prose, in my opinion If you don t like stories that feellike prismatic drops of rain as Susan Straight called them, then I wouldn t pick this one up, but if you re a fan of say, Maggie Nelson s Bluets, then this might be just right for you.


  5. says:

    This book should come with a warning Don t read when tired You have to be completely alert to follow Raffel s original, choppy prose style I found myself rereading passages many times, as I was reading before bed and often exhausted However, it was worth it Don t know too many women writing like this If you are a Diane Williams fan, you must read this book I found Raffel s style particularly effective when writing scenes between family members Those unspoken words in the gaps of her pros This book should come with a warning Don t read when tired You have to be completely alert to follow Raffel s original, choppy prose style I found myself rereading passages many times, as I was reading before bed and often exhausted However, it was worth it Don t know too many women writing like this If you are a Diane Williams fan, you must read this book I found Raffel s style particularly effective when writing scenes between family members Those unspoken words in the gaps of her prose are heavily laden withmeaning than when she is writing about other characters No Place on Earth, which takes place on a bus and is a delightful, poignant exchange between a boy and his young mother is a 5 star story for me, and well worth the price of this beautifully designed little book Dzanc is publishing some wonderful stuff


  6. says:

    Got this book from the library s blind date pile and I was excited I read the cover blurb and thought it would be based on science Instead of that, I got prose that read like modern poetry Then I decided I was reading the ramblings of an elderly person at the end of their life snippets that made little sense I moved from that to deciding I was reading the ramblings of madwoman I ve reread the blurbs on the back cover I ve read some of the online reviews I was irritated because I felt so Got this book from the library s blind date pile and I was excited I read the cover blurb and thought it would be based on science Instead of that, I got prose that read like modern poetry Then I decided I was reading the ramblings of an elderly person at the end of their life snippets that made little sense I moved from that to deciding I was reading the ramblings of madwoman I ve reread the blurbs on the back cover I ve read some of the online reviews I was irritated because I felt sort of stupid because I didn t share the opinion that it s brilliant writing Then I got irritated because I felt irritated Finally I read one review that said At least it was short Yes Exactly And not only that, but the cover of the book feels weird


  7. says:

    I read the first two stories Near Taurus and Her Purchase Wasn t grabbed by either story, and after skimming a few , don t think that will change The prose is choppy, and it feels like Raffel is going for style over substance Also, 21 stories regarding frenetic mothers and their neglected children seems like overkill to me.


  8. says:

    Raffel takes the focus of poetry and slurs the brief narrative pops in her collection to create a portable constellation The sharpness of the language, the precision of the syntax reading feels like walking in the ocean at night and discovering words with your toes as the collection progresses the toes becomeadept I haven t read a collection as spare and evocative.


  9. says:

    At least it was short..


  10. says:

    This book of short stories is gorgeous You almost have to let go of trying to understanding it to really enjoy it It s full of broken dialogue, half finished sentences, forgotten thoughts, strange words and abrupt endings The stories are heartbreaking and sweet and heavy They deal with mother s and fathers and babies and mortality and morbidity and truth and sadness I cried reading 6 21 of the stories Raffel s prose is like no others it punches you in the gut but also comforts you Read th This book of short stories is gorgeous You almost have to let go of trying to understanding it to really enjoy it It s full of broken dialogue, half finished sentences, forgotten thoughts, strange words and abrupt endings The stories are heartbreaking and sweet and heavy They deal with mother s and fathers and babies and mortality and morbidity and truth and sadness I cried reading 6 21 of the stories Raffel s prose is like no others it punches you in the gut but also comforts you Read this collection if you want to be destroyed


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Further Adventures in the Restless Universe When Dawn Raffel Was A Very Small Child, Her Father Used To Read To Her Nightly From The Restless Universe A Layman S Guide To Physics By The Nobel Laureate Max Born Although She Loved The Time Spent With Her Father, She Didn T Despite His Statements To The Contrary Comprehend A Word Of The Physics It Was Her First Recognition That Love So Often Comes With Imperfect UnderstandingThe Stories In Further Adventures In The Restless Universe Are About Fathers, Daughters, Mothers, Sisters, Husbands, Wives, Strangers, Lovers, Sons, Neighbors, Kings, Death, Faith, Astronomical Phenomena, And The Way The Heart Warps Time