Enchantment is Thaisa Frank’s third collection of short fiction, (her sixth book) and includes two semi-autobiographical novellas as well as thirty-three stories. Her most recent novel, Heidegger’s Glasses, takes place in the mythical haven of an underground mine during WWII, the safety of which is threatened by a courageous worker in the Resisstance. It was published in 2010, reissued in paperback in 2011 and sold to ten foreign countries before publication. She is also the author of Sleeping in Velvet and A Brief History of Camouflage, both on the Bestseller List of the San Francisco Chronicle. Thaisa has received two PEN awards and is a three-time Northern California Book Award nominee. Her stories have been widely-anthologized--the most recent of which are in A Dictionary of Dirty Words, Harper/Collins Reader’s Choice and Rozne Ksztatly Milocsi. She has published critical essays on writing and art and wrote the Afterward to Viking/Penguin’s most recent edition of Voltaire.
Thaisa has also co-authored Finding Your Writers Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction, translated into Portuguese and Spanish, and used in contemporary writing programs. She has taught writing in the graduate departments of San Francisco State, the University of San Francisco and has been Visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California.
She grew up in the Midwest and the Bronx, the granddaughter of a Presbyterian theologian and a Rumanian Chassid, who consulted each other about Aramaic texts. Her fiction, sometimes characterized as “domestic magical realism,” draws on a bi-cultural childhood, in which she lived in a sedate suburb of Illinois for two-thirds of the year and the teeming, immigrant world of New York for the remaining third. In her novellas, a chaotic family journeys from Kansas to Vermont. In her short stories, a woman orders an enchanted man from a mail-order catalogue, a circus performer has feet that can see, a lonely vampire attends barn-raisings in the heartlands and a child has too many mothers to remember.
Thaisa wrote her first story when she was eight--an “unremarkable story, except it made me feel connected to a vast world, far beyond my family.” She majored in philosophy of science and studied writing alone, turning down fellowships and working as a copy-editor, ghost-writer, and psychotherapist. An interviewer once claimed she also once was a psychic reader; but this was just a rumor, started by one of her characters.
the gloomy eastern europeans--kafka & schulz, especially; gogol & turgenev; par lagerqvist (the dwarf); faulkner, flannery o'conner, donald barthleme, richarrd brautigan, jane austen, charlotte bronte, russell edson, ana hatherly (portuguese), some special editors, people i meet in passing, erotic moments of all kinds, cats who use my manuscripts to sleep on, celan, wallace stevens, yeats, william stafford, the UCB library, winnicott, leibniz, heidegger, wittgenstein, lots of philosophy of science, highway 5, little streets in Paris, weird industrial sections on the outskirts of town, friends, all my students, my son and the journey being a mother
In ENCHANTMENT, Thaisa Frank, the recent author of the widely translated novel, HEIDEGGER’S GLASSES, returns with a collection of short fiction and two novellas written in a voice that covers a wide range,
including contortionists, circus masters, angel channelers, and pre-Raphaelite. In the title story, a lonely mother and housewife orders an enchanted man from a website called The Wondrous Traveler: He arrives with instructions for use and a list of frequently asked questions about enchantment. In “Thread,” two circus performers who pass through the eye of a needle become undone by a complicated love triangle. And “The Loneliness of the Midwestern Vampire” transcends the conventional genre to cast a poignant and human light on vampires in the heartlands. The two semi-autobiographical novellas, The Mapmaker and Night Visits, are written in a realistic voice that mirrors the surrealistic tilt of many of the other stories. The interplay of two distinct voices in Thaisa Frank’s work has been compared to George Bataille’s Story of the Eye by Carla Diacoff.
These are vibrant, compelling stories that examine the distance between imagination and reality, and how characters bridge that gap in their attempt to reach one another.
Ellen Levine Diana Finch
St. Martin's Press, Black Sparrow Press, Bloomsbury Press, Viking/Penguin, Counterpoint Press
cooking, eating, breathing, bad movies, installations, photography, walking in New York, Paris, London
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