The Sovereignties of Invention
May 11, 2012
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome writer, poet, and former Harvard librarian MATTHEW BATTLES for a reading of his new book of short stories, The Sovereignties of Invention.
Matthew Battles does not write stories that move, develop or unfold. He creates worlds that hiss, snap, and rattle, and decorates them with objects that brood in black, glassine silence, or crumble into dusty revelation. Characters are left to grab at scraps of reality sent whipping about them at hurricane force. Ideas "run faster than memory can sieve them from the flow," leaving vaporous reverie to fill the vacuum - dogs populate trees, demolition men bear holy forgeries, and a slick dark box siphons off synaptic vibrations.
In "The Dogs in the Trees," man's best friends deliver an enigmatic rebuke. The protagonist of "The Sovereignties of Invention" is enthralled by a gadget that plumbs the depths of the stream of consciousness. In "The Manuscript of Belz," a librarian ponders the glamor of the book and the bloody limits of cultural experience. And "The Gnomon" seeks in Internet culture the same dark energies limned by Poe. Each story within waits, still, dark and deep, to yield its unique shock of uncanny truth.
"As one might expect from the author of Library: An Unquiet History, Battles owes a debt to Borges, but it’s the right kind of debt. His fables unfold against a hi-res real world, with close attention to everyday detail, in a prose that is precise, concise, musical, and alive." —The Paris Review
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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