Today is the Day of The Dead.
No, not that Day of the Dead. Today is the day that James Joyce’s short story The Dead takes place. (Think of it as Bloomsday in winter.) Within Catholicism, January 6th is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany, which marks the end of the Christmas season. Theologically speaking, an epiphany refers to the manifestation of Christ’s divinity to the Magi.
Educated by Jesuits, Joyce was obsessed with epiphanies and it’s no surprise that he chose January 6th as the setting for his final addition to Dubliners. (But what is surprising is that Joyce pinched the name of the story’s main character and the imagery of snowfall from a now-forgotten American short story writer named Bret Harte.)
Today is also the official announcement for pre-sale orders of Humboldt, or The Power of Positive Thinking.
Here’s the synopsis:
The Iraq War? The housing market collapse? College football’s concussion crisis? How can anyone be expected to understand such complexities, especially a “horticulturally dyslexic” farmboy with an eighth-grade education and a penchant for perpetually misunderstanding, misreading, and misinterpreting the world? Born on a farm in Ohio, Humboldt is content to spend his life “outside amongst the oxygen and unhurried hydrocarbons.” But when his father’s farm is threatened with foreclosure, Humboldt is forced to save it by enrolling in college, leading him on an epic absurdist adventure through Washington politics, New York performance art, Boston blue-bloods, post-Katrina New Orleans, multiple murders, and holy resurrections. Mixing the speed and structure of Voltaire’s Candide with a heavy dose of Joycean wordplay, and a love of literary acrobatics worthy of David Foster Wallace, Scott Navicky’s debut novel assails some of modern America’s most cherished beliefs and institutions with the battle cry: “Ticklez l’infâme!”
And here’s the link for pre-sale orders: