50 Watts Book Club volume 1: Feedback Understudies
I'm selling these two obscure and slim books (both translated from French) as a set: Understudies by Marie Redonnet and A Forest Petrifies: Diamond Feedback by Félicia Atkinson.
Understudies is an early work by Redonnet, published in France in 1986, here translated by Jordan Stump (Leaping Dog Press, 2005). It is 86 pages, 5 x 9 inches. The book is not easy to find, and it's one of the strangest works of fiction I've read.
"'Twelve little machines to make death and failure,' Redonnet calls the twelve characters -- or the twelve stories -- we find in this book, and it's true: every tale we find here tells the same story, albeit in twelve different forms, the story of a kind of erasure, of disappearance and undoing, owing to the characters' fatal need to make of themselves a copy of another." -- From the translator's introduction
A Forest Petrifies is a tiny paperback from Shelter Press in France (56 pages, 4-3/8 by 7 inches), translated into English by Rachel Valinsky
It is hard to describe so here is what the publisher says:
A forest petrifies: Diamond Feedback is the first part of a larger novel in several episodes.
Inspired by the Petrified Forest in Arizona and its ability to change over time from an organic to a mineral state, the story was conceived by the musician and artist Félicia Atkisnon over the past five years, while its on-going writing has been the starting point of many of Atkinson’s music lyrics and recent records and exhibitions.
A part of the book takes place in the middle of the desert in an indistinct future. Two men are having a discussion by a fire in a modernist house. The music they are listening to is not emitted by a device but by themselves, it’s a new kind of technology. They look at the embers of the fire and it reminds them of a painting by Bosch. They suddenly wonder if those embers could be a republic of some kind.
A Forest Petrifies is a novel about the perception of time and how some places mark people’s minds.
I'm calling this "Book Club volume 1" but have no plan for volume 2. But each installment will highlight a pair of strange and under-the-radar works of fiction.