Fiction Short Take: Private Novelist – Nell Zink

Yep, more from Ms. Zink. This trade paper original combines two unpublished pieces she’d written for a friend, the Israeli writer Avner Shats. One written from the POV of a Shats-like writer who is a “German specialist in ancient lint”; the other is a tongue in cheek homage to Shats by way of a “translation” of one of his works. This is a must for anyone working on their Zink obsession.

In this surprising and entertaining metafictional experiment, Zink attempts to translate the Israeli author Avner Shats’s 1998 novel, Sailing Towards the Sunset, from the original Hebrew, despite not being able to read the language (she bases her translation on a synopsis given to her by Shats)….Interspersed with literary criticism, ‘irrelevant interludes,’ and copied-and-pasted email correspondence with Avner Shats himself, the novel winds to a kind of conclusion in which the author literally writes herself into the narrative to help Yigal and Mary dispose of a bomb. An appended short story, ‘European Story for Avner Shats,’ about three artists on a fellowship in Florence, is slightly less scattered, and much more of a lark….It’s a tension that strangely fits this eccentric book, in style and in substance, binding its disparate parts together.”
— Publishers Weekly

 “Readers who enjoy smart, playful postmodernism will be glad that Private Novelist has finally been made public. Proof that experimental fiction can be fun.”
 — Kirkus Reviews

 Private Novelist (9780062458308) by Nell Zink. $15.99 paperback10/4/16 on sale.

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