Kaya Press & ARTBOOK at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles are pleased to welcome Anelise Chen and Jarett Kobek for the release of Anelise Chen debut novel So Many Olympic Exertions, described as “formally unique and inventive” by Publisher’s Weekly.
Blending elements of self-help, memoir, and sports writing, So Many Olympic Exertions is an experimental novel that perhaps most resembles what the ancient Greeks called hyponemata, or “notes to the self” in the form of observations, reminders, and self-exhortations. Taken together, these notes constitute a personal handbook on “how to live” or perhaps more urgently “why to live,” a question the narrator, graduate student Athena Chen, desperately needs answered. When Chen hears news that her brilliant friend from college has committed suicide, she is thrown into a fugue of fear and doubt. Through a fascinating collection of anecdotes and close readings of moments in the sometimes harrowing (i.e., bloody) world of sports, the novel questions the validity and usefulness of our current narratives of success by focusing attention on seemingly mundane, unexpected, or “failed” moments. In her debut novel, Anelise Chen brings you a completely original take on the sports narrative.
“Reading Anelise Chen’s debut is like being placed in a fast-moving stream—it’s impossible to stop and you won’t want to. A rare joy.” – Ed Park, Author of Personal Days
Anelise Chen will be joined by Jarett Kobek, acclaimed author of I Love the Internet and new novel The Future Won’t Be Long, for reading and discussion.
In Kobek’s The Future Won’t Be Long, when Adeline, a wealthy art student, chances upon a young man from the Midwest known only as Baby in a shady East Village squat, the two begin a fiery friendship that propels them through a decade of New York life. In the apartments and bars of downtown Manhattan to the infamous nightclub The Limelight, Adeline is Baby’s guardian angel, introducing him to a city not yet overrun by gentrification. They live through an era of New York punctuated by the deaths of Warhol, Basquiat, Wojnarowicz, and Tompkins Square Park. Adeline is fiercely protective of Baby, even bringing him home with her to Los Angeles, but he soon takes over his own education. Once just a kid off the bus from Wisconsin, Baby relishes ketamine-fueled clubbing nights and acid days in LA, and he falls deep into the Club Kid twilight zone of sexual excess. As Adeline develops into the artist she never really expected to become and flees to the nascent tech scene in San Francisco, Baby faces his own desire for artistic expression and recognition. He must write his way out of clubbing life, and their friendship, an alliance that seemed nearly impenetrable, is tested and betrayed, leaving each unmoored as the world around them seems to be unraveling. Riotously funny and wise, The Future Won’t Be Long is an ecstatic, propulsive novel coursing with a rare vitality, an elegy to New York and to the relationships that have the power to change—and save—our lives.
Anelise Chen’s debut novel So Many Olympic Exertions will be published by Kaya Press this August. She earned her MFA in fiction at NYU. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, NPR, BOMB Magazine, The New Republic, VICE, Village Voice and many other publications. She has received fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and she will be a 2019 Literature Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. She currently teaches writing at Columbia University and writes a column on mollusks for The Paris Review.
Jarett Kobek is a Turkish-American writer living in California. His novella ATTA was called “highly interesting,” by the Times Literary Supplement, has appeared in Spanish translation, been the subject of much academic writing, and was a recent and unexplained bestseller in parts of Canada. He is the author of I Hate the Internet (We Heard You Like Books) and The Future Won’t be Long (Viking).