Author Spotlight: Rachel Kushner

“The only writer to ever be nominated for a National Book Award in Fiction for both a first and second novel, Rachel Kushner is clearly an author to watch. Kushner began her Bachelor’s in Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley when she was only sixteen and went on to obtain an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She published her first novel, Telex from Cuba, in 2008. Kushner has edited for Grand Street Magazine, BOMB, Soft Targets, and Artforum, among others. Her fiction and essays can be found in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Paris Review, and frequently focus on issues of feminism, contemporary art, revolutionary politics, culture, and modernism. In 2013 New York Magazine called Kushner’s second book, The Flamethrowers, “probably the most heatedly discussed book of the year.” For this title Kushner was a finalist for the 2014 Folio Prize, the James Tate Black Prize, and the Bailey’s Prize. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2013 as well as an honorary PhD from Kalamazoo College. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.”

Here’s a look at here complete works!

The Mars Room

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.

The Flamethrowers

The year is 1975 and Reno—so-called because of the place of her birth—has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world—artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. Ardent, vulnerable, and bold, she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro’s family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow

.

Telex from Cuba

Young Everly Lederer and K.C. Stites come of age in Oriente Province, where the Americans tend their own fiefdom—three hundred thousand acres of United Fruit Company sugarcane that surround their gated enclave. If the rural tropics are a child’s dreamworld, Everly and K.C. nevertheless have keen eyes for the indulgences and betrayals of the grown-ups around them—the mordant drinking and illicit loves, the race hierarchies and violence.

In Havana, a thousand kilometers and a world away from the American colony, a cabaret dancer meets a French agitator named Christian de La Mazière, whose seductive demeanor can’t mask his shameful past. Together they become enmeshed in the brewing political underground. When Fidel and Raúl Castro lead a revolt from the mountains above the cane plantation, torching the sugar and kidnapping a boat full of “yanqui” revelers, K.C. and Everly begin to discover the brutality that keeps the colony humming. Though their parents remain blissfully untouched by the forces of history, the children hear the whispers of what is to come.

The Strange Case of Rachel K

An explorer’s whereabouts keeps a queen in waiting; a faith healer’s illegal radio broadcasts give hope to an oppressed people; a president’s offer of ice cream surprises a prostitute expecting to cooperate fully ― the three short fictions gathered in The Great Exception build into a vision of Cuba that is black-humored, brutal, and beautiful. Written prior to the publication of Rachel Kushner’s first acclaimed novel Telex From Cuba, these stories, like Roberto Bolano’s Antwerp, burst forth with the genesis of her fictional universe as though fired from a cannon. From the mythical title story, to the ominous “Debouchment” ― originally published in her too short-lived journal Soft Targets ― to the sexy and noirish “Strange Case of Rachel K,” this is Kushner saddling up for a journey into the wilds of the modern novel.

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