cover image Participation


Anna Moschovakis. Coffee House, $16.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-56689-657-3

Novelist, poet, and translator Moschovakis (Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love) delivers a brilliant and prescient story of an intellectual woman’s engagement with two book clubs amid climate catastrophe and political strife. As E, founder of the now-defunct group Anti-Love, theorizes about her own desires, she experiences dueling erotic impulses toward S, whose full name and gender are unknown to E, and who belongs to another group, Love, which has transitioned from IRL to virtual meetings; and a man she nicknames “the capitalist,” whom she knows through one of her jobs. The two clubs’ binary names highlight E’s ambivalence about love and partnerships; she reflects on the Love group’s choice of a text about Aristophanes’s view that each person spends their life searching for their other half. Meanwhile, news alerts of marching white supremacists and extreme weather events flash on E’s computer screen, which she describes as a “stack of small explosions, almost registering, then, compulsively, swiped away.” Often, E breaks the fourth wall, anticipating and toying with the reader’s expectations (“I love it when you try to guess. Sometimes it’s exactly what I need”). Throughout, Moschovakis brings her fierce intelligence to bear in the structurally surprising and impeccably executed narrative. This is formal innovation at its finest. Agent: Akin Akinwumi, Willenfield Literary. (Nov.)