Join us for a joint author reading and conversation featuring Peter Coviello, author of Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs and Kim O'Neil, author of Fever Dogs.
Have you ever fallen in love--exalting, wracking, hilarious love--with a song? Long Players is a book about that everyday kind of besottedness--and, also, about those other, more entangling sorts of love that songs can propel us into. We follow Peter Coviello through his happy marriage, his blindsiding divorce, and his fumbling post marital forays into sex and romance. Above all we travel with him as he calibrates, mix by mix and song by song, his place in the lives of two little girls, his suddenly ex-stepdaughters. In his grief, he considers what keeps us alive (sex, talk, dancing) and our many interwoven ways of falling in love: with books and bands and records, with friends, with lovers, with the families we make.
Peter Coviello has written about Walt Whitman, Mormon polygamy, Steely Dan, the history of sexuality, queer children, American literature, stepparenthood, and Prince. This work has appeared in The Believer, Frieze, Avidly, Raritan, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as in several books. In 2017-18, he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He lives in Chicago.
Kim O’Neil’s debut collection Fever Dogs is a fictional biography of three generations of women in Boston. It begins at the turn of the twenty-first century with Jean, a young woman at an impasse. Romantically adrift, in a dying profession, she decides that to make herself a future, she must first make herself a past. To deal with a violent history, Jean’s mother has violently erased it. Starting from a bare outline that includes an unspoken death, a predatory father, and a homeless stint, Jean reconstructs the life her mother, Jane, might have lived. But origin stories can never completely cover their tracks: like Jean’s story, Jane’s cannot be told apart from that of her own mother. What follows is a set of stories spanning nearly a century in response to questions which the narrator wishes she had asked her mother and to which she has disjointed answers at best. In the absence of answers, the narrator, in various points of view, invents them. As the stories progress backwards in time, the footholds in fact grow fewer–and the shift to fabulism greater. But in her attempt to unravel her mother's origin and her own, Jean finds that the stories she invents--like the dogs who run through them as witnesses, allies, and objects of desire--serve as well as any other in the makeshift task of authoring a life.
Kim O'Neil graduated from the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine. Her work has been published in Electric Literature, Juked, Packingtown Review, and Faultline. She is the author of the story collection Fever Dogs. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and assistant director of the Writing Center.