“July 1, 2011 – Ann Arbor, MI—Dzanc Books is proud to announce that it has acquired the eBook rights for Jonathan Baumbach’s entire backlist to be published within the Dzanc Books rEprint Series.  This includes his 14 books of fiction prior to Dreams of Molly, which Dzanc published earlier this year, and his nonfiction, The Landscape of Nightmare.  The full fiction list is: A Man to Conjure With; What Comes Next; Reruns; Chez Charlotte and Emily; My Father More of Less; The Life and Times of Major Fiction; The Return of Service; Separate Hours; Seven Wives; Babble; D-Tours; B, a novel; On The Way To My Father’s Funeral: New and Selected Stories; and You, or the Invention of Memory. These eBooks will be published, three at a time, every other month, beginning in October 2011. The final trio will be published in June 2012, at which time Dzanc Books will also publish a paperback version of You, or the Invention of Memory.”

Recently profiled by The New York Observer, Jonathan will make a rare public appearance at 192 Books in New York on July 20.

“YOU is the very first time I met [Jonathan Baumbach], and I’m glad I did.”

Take a peek at Anna Clark’s charming and insightful video review of YOU at brand-new literary journal, The Collagist.


Andrew Madigan reviews YOU or The Invention of Memory in the new Portland Review (Spring/Summer 2009):

“Jonathan Baumbach is the most original and entertaining writer we have. His prose is haunting, his images startling. Each of his works is an important addition to the rickety scaffold of postmodernism, even when he adds by taking something away: he is both Rauschenberg erasing de Kooning and Duchamp scribbling on the Mona Lisa.”

It’s not available online, but I subscribed a while back and so my copy came in the mail the other day, much to my delight! Powells.com sells single print issues.


An Autumn Tale

Jonathan Baumbach recently introduced a screening of Eric Rohmer’s An Autumn Tale at BAMcinematek, which was perfect as its one of the influences in YOU or The Invention of Memory. Flavorwire covered the event. Here’s Jonathan’s introduction:

“A few weeks ago, circumstantially, I ran into Arthur Penn’s ‘Night Moves’ on TV, another worthy late film, a film in which the private detective hero, played by Gene Hackman, declines to go with his wife to see ‘My Night at Maud’s’ with the witty explanation that viewing a Rohmer film is ‘like watching paint dry.’ I remember the remark getting some knowing laughs in the theater the first time I saw ‘Night Moves.’ Sometimes watching paint dry, the right paint of course, can be a profound experience.

My predilection as a writer of fiction is for formal audacity, more in keeping with, say, early Godard than Rohmer, early or late. And so Rohmer has won me over in the long haul almost without my noticing the change in my feelings, and against my notion of myself. No matter, I still remain hugely fond of Godard’s answer when asked rather huffily if he didn’t think a film should have a beginning, middle and an end. ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘but not necessarily in that order.’

Rohmer might have answered the same question, ‘Yes, but not so you’d notice.’

‘An Autumn Tale’ is the last of Rohmer’s Tales of the Seasons, which is his third and most recent series and was made when the director, clearly in his prime, was over 70. Over the years, while doing something of the same thing again and again—as Rohmer says in explaining the terms of his first series, ‘what I call a conte moral is not a tale with a moral, but a story which deals less with what people do than what is going on in their minds while they are doing it’—Rohmer’s work, within its limited parameters, has made the same old thing more different and more beautiful as he’s gone along. As we know—the secret has been long out—Rohmer combines in most of his films literate talk about personal matters with an unobtrusively elegant camera.

We are trained to think that personal matters are less important than the global, but in fact the world tends to be too much with us and only of the moment. The personal, which is where we begin and end, is about everything.

The reason I chose ‘An Autumn Tale’ to introduce, beyond its being my favorite Rohmer film is that its basic plot device—one woman for her own self-deceived reasons advertising for a mate for another—is employed with notable variation in my latest novel, You or the Invention of Memory. And the reason for my shameless borrowing of the displaced behavior in Rohmer’s film is because it says so much about character while also being slyly comic. There is always the whisper of self-deceit, as Rohmer has been telling us throughout his extraordinary career, in the noblest of our deeds. Like most of us, like countries themselves, Rohmer’s characters, with the best of misguided intentions, often confuse self-regard with generosity. Ultimately, Rohmer’s art makes us feel good about feeling bad in the comic recognition of a personal and therefore universal hypocrisy shared with his characters. Enough said.

The rest is Rohmer.”


Jonathan Baumbach will be reading from YOU at Mixer in September, and also for The Brooklyn Rail, which is serializing his next novel, to be published as Dreams of Molly by Dzanc Books in 2011. Meanwhile, he’s written about his favorite short stories for the Emerging Writers Network, and is at work on a new collection…


Jonathan Baumbach will be introducing Autumn Tale (Conte d’automne) at BAMcinématek on MAY 7 as part of The Late Film Series. The screening will be followed by a signing of YOU or The Invention of Memory. I have been sitting on my hands waiting for the moment I could announce that news for months and the moment is now. Can you feel the electricity? I sure can.


HIPSTER BOOK CLUB:Jonathan Baumbach, in You or The Invention of Memory has written a book that accomplishes the main goals of metafiction and of good literature: reminding readers of the book as an object and a construct and a contract between the author and reader, and enrapturing those same readers with a complicated love story that plays with memory and identity. Baumbach is clearly a writer at the top of his game…” [More]

MARY PHILLIPS-SANDY:I opened the envelope and turned the book, which is pleasantly slim, over in my left hand. The NYTBR blurb on the back jacket refers to the author’s previous collection as “more than thirty years of work from an underappreciated writer.” In this context the word “underappreciated” is meant to convey both the quality of the author’s work and the quality of the NYTBR, for recognizing the quality of the author’s work when few others did. Perhaps also the quality of you, for the discerning taste that led you to hold this underappreciated thing in your left hand.” [More]

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