Harper Academic

Screen Tests

Stories and Other Writing

by Kate Zambreno

On Sale: 07/23/2019

Price: $16.99

Screen Tests

Enlarge Book Cover

Screen Tests

Stories and Other Writing

by Kate Zambreno

On Sale: 07/23/2019

Format:

Price: $16.99

About the Book

Book to Watch in 2019: Nylon, Domino, Bustle, Book Riot, Buzzfeed

A new work equal parts observational micro-fiction and cultural criticism reflecting on the dailiness of life as a woman and writer, on fame and failure, aging and art, from the acclaimed author of Heroines, Green Girl, and O Fallen Angel.

In the first half of Kate Zambreno’s astoundingly original collection Screen Tests, the narrator regales us with incisive and witty swatches from a life lived inside a brilliant mind, meditating on aging and vanity, fame and failure, writing and writers, along with portraits of everyone from Susan Sontag to Amal Clooney, Maurice Blanchot to Louise Brooks. The series of essays that follow, on figures central to Zambreno’s thinking, including Kathy Acker, David Wojnarowicz, and Barbara Loden, are manifestoes about art, that ingeniously intersect and chime with the stories that came before them.

"If Thomas Bernhard's and Fleur Jaeggy's work had a charming, slightly misanthropic baby—with Diane Arbus as nanny—it would be Screen Tests. Kate Zambreno turns her precise and meditative pen toward a series of short fictions that are anything but small. The result is a very funny, utterly original look at cultural figures and tropes and what it means to be a human looking at humans.”—Amber Sparks

“In Screen Tests, a voice who both is and is not the author picks up a thread and follows it wherever it leads, leaping from one thread to another without quite letting go, creating a delicate and ephemeral and wonderful portrait of how a particular mind functions. Call them stories (after Lydia Davis), reports (after Gerald Murnane), or screen tests (inventing a new genre altogether like Antoine Volodine). These are marvelously fugitive pieces, carefully composed while giving the impression of being effortless, with a quite lovely Calvino-esque lightness, that are a joy to try to keep up with.”—Brian Evenson

Critical Praise

“In Screen Tests the author picks up a thread and follows it wherever it leads, leaping from one thread to another without quite letting go, creating a delicate and ephemeral and wonderful portrait of how a particular mind functions. Call them stories (after Lydia Davis), reports (after Gerald Murnane), or screen tests (inventing a new genre altogether like Antoine Volodine). These are marvelously fugitive pieces, carefully composed while giving the impression of being effortless, with a quite lovely Calvino-esque lightness, that are a joy to try to keep up with.” - Brian Evenson

“Kate Zambreno writes with a winning, gleeful transparency about days and nights spent entranced by literature, film, and her own densely populated imagination. Zambreno pays attention to her own desire’s fluctuations—to attachments, moods, self-constructions, and self-abasements, reconfigured in a series of shadow-box homages to writing as an asymptotic specter. In rhythm-conscious bulletins, streaked with passionate candor, she confirms her vocation as haunter and as haunted.” - Wayne Koestenbaum

“If Thomas Bernhard’s and Fleur Jaeggy’s work had a charming, slightly misanthropic baby - with Diane Arbus as nanny - it would be Screen Tests. Kate Zambreno turns her precise and meditative pen toward a series of short fictions that are anything but small. The result is a very funny, utterly original look at cultural figures and tropes and what it mean to be a human looking at humans - a book you’ll want to shove at  every smart reader you know.” - Amber Sparks

“These stories and essays are layered and build as a Goldin-esque slideshow of textual stills that, often through other art and artists’ lives, explore the book’s central first person voice as private figure, as public figure, as member of the (abstract) writing “community”, as mother, as an aging (female) body, as a person who has escaped their idea of nothingness through dedication to and persistence in making work.” - Jen George

“Weird, daring, triumphant.” - Sofia Samatar

“There is no other writer on the planet like Kate Zambreno. She is singular inside language and she rearranges it enough to undo all of signification. Not even Stein, or Woolf, or Acker ever risked as much on the page. My entire adult life, I have waited for novels that make me feel like something radical has happened to me. The occurrence is rare; most novels make me feel like something I’ve already felt for too long. Sometimes I feel an American shame for what novels have become. I lose hope. When that happens, I return to Kate’s novels and reread. Every single time something else explodes on the page as well as in my body. Bomblettes across the territory or art, interrupting our mindless consumer existences, reminding us that we are alive and in relation to language.”
- Lidia Yuknavitch

“A master of the experimental lyric essay.” - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“There is a singular twitchiness intrinsic to brilliance, a quickness that’s always primed to start sparking. It’s difficult to capture this in fiction, because this kind of mercurial motion doesn’t really like to be restrained on the page. But, it’s vividly present in Kate Zambreno’s latest, Screen Tests (not “Scream Tests,” but also not not “Scream Tests,” maybe). This collection of stories and snippets ranges far and wide within the reaches of Zambreno’s mind, touching on topics like nemeses and art and dogs in film; Zambreno also reflects on cultural figures from Peter Hujar and Kathy Acker to Amal Clooney, offering skewed, subversive perspectives that manage to make my own thoughts on the subjects that much more lucid. It’s the rare book that’s a pure joy to read, but this is one; it delights in petty enthusiasms and grievances, it steals its way into your consciousness like only the most worthwhile things do.” - Nylon “Best Books Summer 2019”

“Kate Zambreno’s work has encompassed both comprehensive examinations of the lives of artists and blistering forays into fiction. With Screen Tests, she juxtaposes the two, offering readers both autobiographical stories and essays inspired by fiction and art — and, in the process, demonstrating how different windows on some of the same themes can be revelatory.” - Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062392046
  • ISBN 10: 0062392042
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 07/23/2019
  • Trimsize: 5.000 in (w) x 7.125 in (h) x 0.760 in (d)
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price: $16.99
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
  • BISAC2 : LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Essays
  • BISAC3 : LITERARY CRITICISM / Feminist