Tales from the Eternal Cafe

Tales from the Eternal Cafe

3.63 (19 ratings by Goodreads)
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Tales from the Eternal Cafe, author Janet Hamill's debut short story collection, offers a thrilling, unwinding trail of tales that excite and mystify; drift then deliver a powerful punch that readers will devour. Like Karen Russell, George Saunders, Jose Luis Borges and Isabel Allende, Janet Hamill's writing lures readers willingly into a labyrinth of surprise and suspense, with humor lurking just on the other side of pathos; a tear just moments away from bright, well-deserved laughter. The seventeen crisp stories included in Tales from the Eternal Cafe offer a plethora of fascinating characters and scenarios: a brief memoir from Baudelaire's publisher; a letter from a writer who knows he is going mad; an exasperated Italian film director unable to inspire Europe's most famous actor during the shooting of a brothel scene. The book includes an introduction by the author's lifelong friend, singer-songwriter-poet-author Patti Smith, whose book Just Kids, received the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2010.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 133 x 203 x 15.24mm | 184g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0989512509
  • 9780989512503
  • 1,522,747

Review quote

"Acclaimed poet Hamill (Body of Water) uses the location of a cafe, a destination long associated with thinkers, dreamers, and conversationalists who dwell there, as the springboard for many of the stories in this rich and diverse debut story collection. Each of the 17 entries dazzles with virtuosity and uniqueness ... Hamill's dialogue tactfully embraces each setting and her keen eye for the detail is enthralling. Readers will be thoroughly drawn into scenes of love, redemption, belief and delusion as well as alienation and fear in this terrific collection." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "[Janet Hamill] conjures the atmosphere of a plethora of eras, laying out mysteries both decadent and divine ... through these tales, we gain entrance to the history of a world where madams rub shoulders with mystics and visionaries with vagabonds." —Patti Smith, musician, author Just Kids, National Book Award winner "An exceptionally intelligent and elegant collection. Janet Hamill shows a terrific ear and eye for detail as she leads us through beautifully considered snapshots of the loved and unloved, the desperate, the hopeful, and the notorious. Both witty and restrained, these international stories mesmerize the reader with their unexpected plot twists." —Jane Ormerod, editor, Great Weather for Media "Hamill's mysterious tales are peopled by restless, worldly souls grappling with love, art, and death, glimpsed as if from between the columns of the Coliseum or in the maze of Morocco's medina. These interludes are often left unresolved, adrift in time, as if the characters, having surfaced just long enough for us to see their colors, had submerged again--back to their dazzling, bohemian lives. TALES FROM THE ETERNAL CAFE is a haunting, atmospheric book--a djinn's lamp in paper and ink." —Katie Farris, author of boysgirls "The cafes in TALES FROM THE ETERNAL CAFE are the archetypal haunts of artists. They are driven to plot, scheme, woo, assist in creative pursuits or thwart them. Members of Janet Hamill's "cafe society" come to life in historic settings, vividly described. For our pleasure, each tale has a plot twist, an ending that can't be predicted. May this eternal cafe never close." —Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse "Reading Janet Hamill now, as I have over the last thirty years, I'm amazed again at the particulars of the world her poetry makes--a night world, as I read it, peopled with bright creatures and splashes of color, beautiful and terrifying by turns." —Jerome Rothenberg, poet "With its unbridled surrealistic, hypnotic imagery, Janet Hamill's alchemy of language gives us back communion with our souls. With a magician's grace she reminds us of the enchantment of our wing. Hers is a music both modern and magic." —Maureen Owen, author "Janet Hamill has sought transcendence in language on the page or sung ... Hamill's mastery of form and feeling comes together to create a poem that delicately examines celebrity, gallantry, silence, talent, and beauty. Only a poet could do that. Or maybe only Janet Hamill." —Patricia Spears Jones, poet
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About Janet Hamill

Janet Hamill is a novelist, poet, musician and painter, affiliated with the international neo-surrealist movement. She has published five poetry collections, including Troublante (Oliphant Press), The Temple (Telephone Books), Nostalgia of the Infinite (Ocean View Books), Lost Ceilings (Telephone Books), and, most recently, Body of Water (Bowery Books) in November 2008, which was nominated for the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Prize. Her poem "K-E-R-O-U-A-C," included in the widely praised anthology, Bowery Women Poems (Bowery Books 2006) and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Janet's poetry and short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Up Late: American Poetry Since 1970, The Low-Tech Manual, Living with the Animals, The Unmade Bed, Deep Down: The New Sensual Writing by Women, Bomb, City Lights Review, Cafe Review, New Wilderness, The World, Recluse, Kansas Quarterly, Poetry Flash, and the Hart Crane Newsletter. Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses. Her memoir, Just Kids, was awarded the National Book Award in 2010.
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Rating details

19 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 26% (5)
4 32% (6)
3 21% (4)
2 21% (4)
1 0% (0)
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