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The After-Normal


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About the Author

David Carlin is a writer and creative artist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of The Abyssinian Contortionist (2015), and Our Father Who Wasn't There (2010), co-author of 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder (2019), and the editor, with Francesca Rendle-Short, of an anthology of new Asian and Australian writing, The Near and the Far (2016). His award-winning work includes essays, plays, radio features, exhibitions, documentary, and short films; recent projects include the Circus Oz Living Archive and WrICE. He is a professor of creative writing at RMIT University where he co-directs the non/fictionLab. Nicole Walker is the author of Sustainability: A Love Story (2018), Where the Tiny Things Are (2017), Egg (2017), Micrograms (2016), QUENCH YOUR THIRST WITH SALT (Zone 3 Press, 2013), and THIS NOISY EGG (Barrow Street Press, 2010). She edited the essay collections Science of Story with Sean Prentiss and Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction with Margot Singer. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and is a noted author in Best American Essays. She is a professor of English at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches creative writing.


Hijinks on the page! What is a useful response to the current crisis we now face on this planet--the mounting evidence of anthropogenic climate change? Nicole Walker and David Carlin have elected to do what thinking people do when faced with paralyzing silence and numbness--to seek company and conversation. These short essays, organized around the certain and established road of the Latin alphabet, observe the anomalies, report the weirdness, and respond to each other. They invent, theorize, rage, and celebrate. Each tiny essay in The After-Normal offers a manageable bit of the world that bursts with flavor like a delicately-constructed amuse bouche. Enter this book and discover engagement, communion, and solace.--Debra Marquart
In this winning collection of essays cued to letters in the alphabet, writers Carlin and Walker exchange personal reflections on the state of the planet today. [...] Carlin and Walker's enjoyable literary exchange will charm readers and leave them wondering which topic will pop up next.--Publishers Weekly
With the daunting, daring, delightful form of this collage (the art form of this moment and the next moment), Nicole Walker and David Carlin unhinge the jaw of juxtaposition voraciously with The After-Normal to masticate and ruminate on the deliciously disparate and desperate. I am partial to the D's (Dear David, Dear Nicole), Delta, the estuary of change that these abecedarian essays mine, a duet, Hermes and Mercury, coaxing the sacred stolen cattle to walk backwards in their own anti-asemic script, changing the category of dead animal parts (horn and shell and bone) into the category of musical instruments (lute and harp and lyre). In this lyrical conceit of aching anecdote and sympathetic semaphore, yes, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, a quilted, qwerty calibration of our constant collapse, our post-postal decomposed compost of correspondences, these dry-eyed, duff-stratified, death defying dead letters.--Michael Martone

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