Catherine Gammon

The composition is the thing seen by everyone living in the living they are doing, they are the composing of the composition that at the time they are living is the composition of the time in which they are living… Gertrude Stein

Tag: Writing

So Many Good Things…

Updates on The Martyrs, The Lovers

Some wonderful reviews

from Necessary Fiction, review by Robert English:

“Written in hypnotic and densely layered prose, The Martyrs, The Lovers is an emotionally charged decon- struction of the layered character of Jutta Carroll. Just as Jutta is always using art, books, and historical figures to find comfort and reason, the novel attempts to strike the same resonant chords with readers. “Gandhi knew that the end was to be found in the means: there was no end, is no end, the means themselves are the end, the only end: the present, the ongoing present.” Like Gandhi, Gammon isn’t concerned with endings but with ideas, especially the ones that resonate now.”

from Ms. Magazine, review by Geri Lipschultz:

“Reading this book sent me to Petra Kelly’s story; I ransacked the Internet for information. But it is Gammon’s framing of the story that makes it even more haunting—the way she casts Jutta into the net of a very real history as well as the webs of the author’s own imagination. From this exhilarating exercise emerges a palimpsest, with Jutta’s story atop Petra Kelly’s, and a doubly powerful book. The Martyrs, the Lovers is deeply resonant for our day and age, as are the concerns of both the protagonist and the real politician and activist upon whom she is based.”

from West Trade Review, review by Tara Friedman:

“Gammon’s thorough and nonjudgmental thematic examination of false martyrdom and silence concealing masked generational and personal trauma will haunt readers long after the novel is complete. … [W[hile these jumps through time and space blend fact and fiction, they also act as testaments to Gammon’s literary and stylistic precision. However, it is the smaller moments, tucked deep within, where true beauty and vulnerability radiate – we connect with Jutta and each other through continued plights for causes, but we cannot tout justice for all without simultaneously taking care of our own biases, vulnerabilities, and mental, physical, and emotional wellness.

A reading coming up in Pittsburgh

Some background on the birth of the book

from a Necessary Fiction Research Note by Catherine Gammon:

“Remember—truth always sounds incredible: truth is the true fiction”—these words from Heinrich Böll are the epigraph to the Notes at the end of The Martyrs, The Lovers.

As the novel’s narrator says, The Martyrs, The Lovers is a work of fiction, invention orbiting fact. Although I drew Jutta and Lukas loosely from the lives and reported histories of Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian, nothing in their fictional world should be taken as revealing or reflecting, directly or indirectly, the living or the dead.

Catherine Gammon in 1990, when this project began

Publication Day!

Leading up to this day many wonderful people have given the book some loving attention.

First, came WANA Live!, hosting me for a short reading and a chat with Christina Fisanick and Damian Dressick — watchable on Facebook and on YouTube

Next, Famous Writing Routines featured this extended interview

Pittsburgh’s wonderful Littsburgh offers a chance to “start reading…” an excerpt from the book.

Finally, a splendid first review this afternoon at West Trade Review.

Ordering here: Bookshop

And PS, while you’re here — take a look at @nonabiding, a new Substack where I talk with and about other writers and other books!

The Martyrs, The Lovers

In case you missed it live … the first reading from The Martyrs, The Lovers

Pre-order for March 1 release date

Words of Praise from Gabriel Blackwell

“Catherine Gammon’s The Martyrs, The Lovers offers readers Gammon’s characteristically precise, beautiful prose, but there is also a thrilling new uncanniness here. With The Martyrs, The Lovers, Gammon renders humane truth out of fiction based in fact. A Sebaldian pleasure, perhaps related to Maylis de Kerangal’s practice of ‘weav[ing] the documentary as a poem’ in its comfort with unknowableness, and without doubt a thoroughly captivating story of the cruelties of ambition disappointed.” — Gabriel Blackwell, author of Doom Town and CORRECTION

Gabe Blackwell and I have never met but I’ve loved the books of his that I’ve read — most recently Doom Town from Zerogram Press — and as editor of the sadly closed The Rupture he published several short pieces of mine. When China Blue came out I asked if he would read an advance copy in the hope for words of recommendation, which he generously gave. Now he offers words of praise again, this time for The Martyrs, The Lovers. And they couldn’t be more beautiful.

With great thanks to Gabe I post them here, along with the link for pre-ordering.

Available for pre-order

Coming in March — preordering now

Loosely based on the life and death of German Green Party leader Petra Kelly, The Martyrs, The Lovers circles the mysteries surrounding the death of Jutta Carroll with her lover Lukas Grimm. Probing Jutta’s origin story, the rise to personal political stardom, and the fall into anxiety and public decline, the novel explores the forces and motivations that drive political passion and activism, and the counterforces, material and psychological, that constantly threaten progress.

Coming in winter …

A few more new things …

Two new and newer short publications —

“In the future perhaps he will have another chance” at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, August 1, 2021

“Agency” at Orca : A Literary Journal, November 2021

May we all enjoy!

And while we’re reading, not to be missed (although we’re past the halfway point, the pace remains meditative and unhurried)—take a look at #TolstoyTogether, reading War and Peace with A Public Space, discussions following on Twitter at the hashtag …

A wonderful review

Today at The Rumpus, this brilliant review of China Blue“Child As Mother To The Woman” by Geri Lipschultz

A few new things…

Just a link or two …

First, the recording of the June 24 China Blue reading party at White Whale Bookstore, available to watch on Facebook

Next, a new online publication, “Buffalo,” at The Blood Pudding

Finally, a new short publication in the new print issue of Always Crashing, first page only in the photo.

Celebrate on June 24

Join us for an online celebration of the publication of China Blue. With thanks to White Whale Bookstore and Bridge Eight Press.

China Blue (Apr. ’21)

REGISTRATION >>>…/reading-china-blue…