Vol. 34 — Birds and Birthdays
Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning: three of the most interesting painters to flourish in male-dominated Surrealism. This is Christopher Barzak's tribute to them, three stories and an essay that enter into a humane surrealism which turns away from the unconscious and toward magic.
Sometimes the stories themselves seem to be paintings. Sometimes painter and writer may be characters, regarding each other through a painful otherness, talking in shared secrets. Barzak's stories are huge with the spacious strangeness of worlds where there is always more room for a woman to escape her tormenters, or outgrow an older self. Here we find a bird-maker and a star-catcher whose shared history spills over into the birds and the stars themselves; a girl who outgrows her clothes, her house, and finally her town—and leaves to find her body a new home; a landlord, whose marriage, motherhood, separation, sexual exploration, and excursions into self-portraiture all take place within a single apartment building.
In “Remembering the body: Reconstructing the Female in Surrealism,” Barzak comments on the images that inspired these stories and discusses his own position as a writer among painters.
These two refracted views of the paintings—through fiction, through
scholarship—infuse the audience's own readings of the works in question,
providing a delightful triple translation of art (painting) to art
(fiction) to art (painting) to interpretation (scholarship/fiction). This
is what makes the book so definitively interstitial, to my eye: It is many
things, in many shades and forms, all looping back together infinitely.
ISBN: 978-1-61976-014-1 (13 digit)