by Daniel Handler (2006).
"Grant me this, this brief murdered moment, and then I will bury it sadly and go on with my game."
I feel incredibly fortunate that in a very delicate post-breakup state, even though I'm reading a book where the word "love" appears on almost every page, it is not the kind of book that induces crying fits. Daniel Handler's novel (novel?) resonates, touches even, but with a distance that makes me feel safe. (I'm imagining now a novel version of The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, and am amazed with myself that I don't own the whole thing.)
There's a lovely quality to the interwoven bits of this book, which are not the kind a reader has to catalogue or even pay attention to. The most freeing moment while reading was the moment I realized that I didn't have to try to wring sense out of the recurring images, names, and phrases. I could just let them wash over me. It's comforting.
Comforting also are the story about Handler and his wife, the fight they had in the subway, which ends with the two of them laughing and the fight forgotten; and the chapter "Barely," which is totally my fucking indie pop dream life, pretty but sad, and that much more possible now that I'm boyfriend-less.
Also the book design is beautiful, with jacket art by Daniel Clowes, which is another thing like comfort. Thank you, Daniel Handler, I needed this.
The Bat Segundo Show makes Daniel Handler sound friendly and fun.
On NPR he sounds a little less friendly, but still quite fun, talking about and performing songs from A Tragic Treasury, with Stephin Merritt.
Powell's has an original essay by Handler entitled "What's Love?"