Odd Plots & Haunted Sentences

One thing I’m looking forward to this year is a class I’ll be teaching at the UMass MFA Program in the spring, Odd Plots & Haunted Sentences. For those who might be curious, here’s the reading list.

The Other City, Michal Ajvaz (translated by Gerald Turner)
Poem Strip, Dino Buzzati (translated by Marina Harss)
The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, Ursula K. Le Guin
Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link
The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien
Motorman, David Ohle
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (selected and translated by Keith Gessen and Anna Summers)
The Weird, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

The Weird isn’t out in the United States yet, so I’m asking my students to special order it from England. It really is that good.

5 comments on Odd Plots & Haunted Sentences

  1. Sure thing, Jeffrey. Here’s a bit from the official course description:

    Italo Calvino characterized supernatural occurrences in fiction as appearing “freighted with meaning, like the revolt of the unconscious, the repressed, the forgotten, all that is distanced from our rational attention.” Beginning with the notion that the literature of the fantastic lends itself to subversive endeavors in regards to form and meaning, we will read widely across periods and geographies, seeking to identify and experiment with elements of the tradition, from the level of the sentence out to story. Among our topics of interest: obliquity, ambiguity, phantasm, and dream; ghosts, doppelgängers, lacunae, monsters.

    • wow…. lucky, lucky umass! ‘all that is distanced from our rational attention…’
      all the good stuff 😀
      well, i’ll just have to pretend i’m there. thanks for the reading list.

  2. Sounds like something a Ray Bradbury or a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story could fit right into your class. Wish I could attend! I am going to pick up a few of the books from the reading list anyway.

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