This is a virtual event taking place via Zoom Webinar.
Third Place Books and Seminary Co-Op Bookstores in Chicago are proud to celebrate the release of An Ideal Presence by OuLiPo writer Eduardo Berti, translated by Daniel Levin Becker. The author and translator will be joined in conversation by Casey Jarman, author of Death: An Oral History.
An Ideal Presence is the first book published by Fern Books, an Oakland- and Paris-based press founded by Kristina Kearns, the former Executive & Editorial Director at McSweeney's.
About An Ideal Presence. . .
The debut title from Fern Books, founded in 2020 by the former Executive & Editorial Director for the award-winning publisher McSweeney's.
In 2015, the Argentinian novelist Eduardo Berti spent several weeks in a “medico-literary” residency at the University Hospital Centre in Rouen, France, observing and conversing with the staff and volunteers of its palliative care department. From that experience he created this series of lightly fictionalized testimonials from nurses, nursing aides, doctors, administrators, porters, volunteer musicians, and the other people who make the unit tick. The result is a distinctly intimate and often poignant portrait of sickness and care, and unflinching look at death through the eyes of the people who work with it every day—but also a profound reflection on what it means to be alive.
Praise for An Ideal Presence. . .
"I loved Eduardo Berti's beautifully and carefully constructed meditation on the notion of presence at death. This book left me gasping."
—Amy Fusselman, author of Idiophone
"An Ideal Presence is about death, yes, but more than that, it's a meditation on the complicated business of living. A funny, tender book."
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House and Her Body and Other Parties
"Eduardo Berti's resonant homage to caretakers offers us a rare glimpse at the small moments that fill out the days of hospitals, from the humorous and warming to the unsettling and devastating. Not a word is wasted in Berti's book, nor in Daniel Levin Becker's ideal translation."
—Emma Ramadan, translator, co-owner of Riffraff and winner of the 2021 Pen Translation Prize for Abdellah Taia's A Country for Dying
"One of the most outstanding writers of his generation, Eduardo Berti has dared to explore the darkest chasms of the truth of fiction and emerge not only victorious but with a cautionary, joyful, profoundly intelligent guide for our anguished times. An Ideal Presence is mandatory reading.
—Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading
Eduardo Berti, born in Buenos Aires in 1964, is the author of a vast body of work that includes novels, stories, music writing, and various unclassifiable books. He has translated authors such as Gustave Flaubert, Jane Austen, and Marguerite Yourcenar into Spanish, and is the editor of a Spanish edition of Henry James’s complete stories. A member of the OuLiPo since 2014, he lives in Bordeaux.
Daniel Levin Becker, born in Chicago in 1984, is the author of Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature and the forthcoming What’s Good: Notes on Rap and Language, as well as the translator of, among others, Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure. He has been a member of the OuLiPo since 2009.
Casey Jarman is a writer/illustrator/chronic procrastinator based in Portland, Oregon. He is the former Managing Editor of the Believer magazine, a longtime Music Editor at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Willamette Week, and a cofounder of Party Damage Records. He works with independent music venues in Portland, makes animated music videos and writes a bimonthly column about video game soundtracks for Bandcamp Daily. His book of interviews, Death: An Oral History, came out in 2016 on the Zest Books imprint.
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