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Title Dialogue with a Somnambulist: Stories, Essays & a Portrait Gallery
Author(s)/Editor(s) Chloe Aridjis
Publisher House Sparrow Press
Pages 280
Dimensions 178 x 110 mm
Format Softcover
Year 2021

With an introduction by Tom McCarthy

Renowned internationally for her lyrically unsettling novels Book of Clouds, Asunder and Sea Monsters, the Mexican writer Chloe Aridjis crosses borders in her work as much as she traverses them in life. Now, collected here for the first time, her stories, essays and pen portraits reveal an author as imaginatively at home in the short form as in her longer fiction.

At once fabular and formally innovative, acquainted with reverie and rigorous report, sensitive to the needs of a wider ecology yet familiar with the landscapes of the unconscious, her texts are both dream dispatches and wayward word plays infused with the pleasure and possibilities of language. Conversations with the presences who dwell on the threshold of waking and reverie, flâneuses of the dusk and dawn, these pieces will stay with you long after the lamps have flickered out.

‘Exquisite dreamworks that exert alternative logics and make a compelling case for the idea that we are born into fantasy and only gradually acquire a sense of a much narrower and more rational reality.’ – Claire-Louise Bennett

‘Aridjis fuses the explosive restlessness of pop culture with the elegance of highbrow restraint to create new and subversive cultural forms. Hybrid currents collide and coalesce in bizarre refractions of expressionist horror film, surrealist painting, Mexican wrestling, insomnia, hypnotism, dwarfs and even some of the comic book novelties that sprang from the fetid business brain of mail order millionaire Harold Braunhut. This isn’t just literary slippage, it’s a landslide of subtle laughs and extraordinary artistic innovation.’ – Stewart Home

‘Chloe Aridjis’s stories and essays are beguiling, her language fresh, her bright mind refreshing. She joins fantasies with realities, to startle the senses, to unite what seems unlikely – a mother eating sea monkeys, a son who can’t leave his house. With elan, she investigates life’s profound and peculiar mysteries. Reading Dialogue with a Somnambulist, one page after another, entranced, I was filled with admiration and love for this daring, excellent writer.’ – Lynne Tillman

CHLOE ARIDJIS is a Mexican writer based in London. She is the author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Chloe has written for various art journals and was guest curator of the Leonora Carrington exhibition at Tate Liverpool. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014 and the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writers Award for 2020. Chloe is a founding member of XR Writers Rebel, a group of writers who focus on addressing biodiversity loss and the climate emergency: www.writersrebel.com