Susan Steinberg
Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

 

 

reading from her debut novel

Machine

published by Graywolf Press

Susan Steinberg's first novel, Machine, is a dazzling and innovative leap forward for a writer whose most recent book, Spectacle, gained her a rapturous following. Machine revolves around a group of teenagers—both locals and wealthy out-of-towners—during a single summer at the shore. Steinberg captures the pressures and demands of this world in a voice that effortlessly slides from collective to singular, as one girl recounts a night on which another girl drowned. Hoping to assuage her guilt and evade a similar fate, she pieces together the details of this tragedy, as well as the breakdown of her own family, and learns that no one, not even she, is blameless.

A daring stylist, Steinberg contrasts semicolon-studded sentences with short lines that race down the page. This restless approach gains focus and power through a sharply drawn narrative that ferociously interrogates gender, class, privilege, and the disintegration of identity in the shadow of trauma. Machine is the kind of novel—relentless and bold—that only Susan Steinberg could have written.

Susan Steinberg is the author of Spectacle, Hydroplane, and The End of Free Love. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.

What has been said about MACHINE

  • "With simple, lyrical language, Steinberg presents a mystery of privilege and youth that deftly captures the unadulterated gear quaking deep behind a teenagers invincible front."Booklist
     
  • "What makes [Machine] so thrilling is Steinberg's artistry with form; she fractures narrative into its fundamental parts. Steinberg writes prose with a poet’s sense of meter and line, and a velocity recalling the novels of Joan Didion. The result is a dizzying work that perfectly evokes the feeling of spinning out of control."Publishers Weekly, starred review
     
  • “Steinberg writes in small, interconnected, and poetic fragments. . . . Heartbreaking, eerie, and acutely observant.”Kirkus, starred review
     
  • “Susan Steinberg takes everything you loved about her short story collections (Spectacle, anyone?) and brings them to this new tragedy: a hazy summer night in which one girl drowned. The voice of the story—sometimes singular, sometimes with other echoes—will guide and haunt you as it tries to make sense of what happened.”Literary Hub