Max Porter in conversation with Lydia Kiesling
Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

celebrating the release of

Lanny: a novel

by Max Porter

from Graywolf Press

"An exhilarating, disquieting, joyous read. It will reach into your chest and take hold of your heart. . . . It's a novel to press into the hands of everyone you know and say, read this."—Maggie O'Farrell

There’s a village an hour from London. It’s no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it, to the land and to the land’s past.
 
It also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a mythical figure local schoolchildren used to draw as green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth, who awakens after a glorious nap. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to its symphony of talk: drunken confessions, gossip traded on the street corner, fretful conversations in living rooms. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, ethereal boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.

With Lanny, Max Porter extends the potent and magical space he created in Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. This brilliant novel will ensorcell readers with its anarchic energy, with its bewitching tapestry of fabulism and domestic drama. Lanny is a ringing defense of creativity, spirit, and the generative forces that often seem under assault in the contemporary world, and it solidifies Porter’s reputation as one of the most daring and sensitive writers of his generation. 

Max Porter is the author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, which won the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

visit: www.maxporter.co.uk

Lydia Kiesling is the editor of The Millions. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Slate, and The New Yorker online, and have been recognized in The Best American Essays 2016. Her new novel is called The Golden State and is published by MCD Books. She makes her home in San Francisco with her family.

Critical praise for the work of Max Porter:

'Amazing and unforgettable.’ The Times

'Dazzlingly good.’ Robert MacFarlane

‘I picked up Grief Is The Thing With Feathers in my local bookshop, and thought, Really? A prose-poem novel about grief and Ted Hughes? Isn't it going to be precious and pretentious? Anyway: I think it's brilliant. The opposite of precious, it reads as though this were the only way it could have been done. It's solid, muscular, moving, funny and clever. I can't wait to see what Max Porter does next. And by the way, it takes about an hour to get through. I will read it again soon.’ Nick Hornby 

‘A luminous reading experience.’ TLS

‘Utterly astonishing. Truly, truly remarkable.’ Nathan Filer

‘Compact and splendid.’ Adam Mars-Jones, London Review of Books

‘Heartrending, blackly funny, deeply resonant.’ Guardian

‘Porter has an excellent ear for the flexibility of language and tone, juxtaposing colloquialisms against poetic images and metaphors. The result is a book that has the living, breathing quality of the title's 'thing with feathers.'. . . One of the things this luminous novel insists upon is that loss endures, even as grief departs. Our recoveries are always partial, and this sense of having been splintered is what finally defines us.’ New York Times 

‘I’m not sure I’ve read anything like Max Porter’s book before. It stunned me, full of beauty, hilarity, and thick black darkness. It will stay with me for a very long time.’ Evie Wyld

‘Unlike anything I’ve read before; part memoir, part novel, part experimental sound-poem, the book is a physical, living thing that shifts between humour and sadness with a deft beat of its wing.’ Andrew McMillan

‘Heartrending, blackly funny, deeply resonant, a perfect summation of what it means to lose someone but still to love the world – and if it reminds publishers that the best books aren’t always the ones that can be pigeonholed or precis-ed or neatly packaged, so much the better.’ Sarah Crown, Guardian

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers argues that books, literature and poetry can help save us. This book is a sublime and painful conjuring of a family’s grief and the misfit creature with the power to both haunt and help them. It is a complex story, not simply-told or sparse: Nothing is missing. Let it be a call for more great books of this length to be recognized for what they are — whole. Extraordinary is a book with feathers.’ Los Angeles Times

‘An intense and startling reflection on sudden bereavement, dark animism, childhood and literary form.’ Brian Dillon

‘orter’s poetic prose has infinite readings, and demands you turn back to the beginning after each short sitting.’ Big Issue

‘Shows us another way of thinking about the novel and its capabilities, taking us through a dark and emotionally fraught subject, one airy page after another, as through transported by wings.’ Kirsty Gunn, Guardian

"Max Porter has written one of the only accurate representations of grief I have ever found in literature. He combines verse, narrative, essay, myth, drama, jokes, bad dreams, and the language of therapy in a way that seems magical, permanent, utterly integrated, as impossible to distill to its components as it would be impossible to remove or isolate grief from love, or from life itself. Says Crow of grief, ‘It is everything. It is the fabric of selfhood.’ Sarah Manguso

‘In this slyly funny and thrillingly original work, Max Porter somehow pulls a brand new story out of the darkest despair.’ Jenny Offill

‘Less a novel than a totally new and feathered thing—hilarious, poetic, cheeky, postmodern, I guess, but in the most earnest and emotionally forthright way. I was as gripped as I was stunned by Porter’s linguistic daredevilry, his intelligence, his emotional go-for-the-gut-ness. I loved this book.’ Heidi Julavits

 ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers . . . is a book to cherish. It has the perfect balance of being very sad and very funny, full of darkness and full of light.’ Cecelia Ahern

 ‘A small masterpiece.’ Listener

‘I loved Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers . . . Part prose, part poetry, the book is a lyrical exploration of grief and healing; exquisite passages of brilliance and beauty abound throughout.’ Thomas Morris

‘It seems appropriate that the publishing firm for which T.S. Eliot once worked and wrote should put out this extraordinary book, haunted as it is by two poets. This book is partly poetry, partly drama, partly fable, and partly essay on grief. With its verbal inventiveness, vivid imagery and profound but never swamping emotion, this is as wild and gripping and original a book as Wuthering Heights.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Art—in Porter’s witty, sensitive, outlandish expression of it—does not so much transport us to another world as alert us to the extraordinary beauty of our own.’ Music and Literature

And here's Jesse Ballhttps://vimeo.com/167790359