Racing in Place
Collages, Fragments, Postcards, Ruins

Michael Martone

Michael Martone "Martone sees from acute angles, perceiving what others miss."-Bookforum

Reviews

"Martone's gentle, thoughtful, and wry tone informs these pitch-perfect segmented essays on growing up and moving on, on the mythic Midwest, the subtropical South, and the gloomy sunless Northeast. His concerns in this collection are about the act of creative 'transformation' whether the creative act is personal or aimed at an audience. The ordinary always transforms into the extraordinary in these wonderful, complex, and circling essays."
—Robin Hemley, author of Turning Life into Fiction

"Martone's essays are dazzling high wire acts in the 'theater of betweenness'—enacting and exploring elusive states of being and becoming. Watch Martone cast his father as a green, velour, female millipede mascot! See Coach Bob Knight perform as a dazzleflauge trickster! Observe the word 'gawk' turned into an epistemological adventure up an elevator shaft and beyond! Postcards, racing, eye charts, the Midwest and much more are read as ciphers, mysteries, forms to turn this way and that in the light of both reason and play. While Martone tunes his ever-alert ear to the 'logo' in logos, he also addresses 'the texture of absence, the heft of loss, the substantial mass of all that.' In this compelling simultaneity, he achieves—in essay after essay—a deeply humane register."
—Lia Purpura, author of On Looking


"The thing that's so frustrating about Michael Martone is that his wonderful mercurial tendencies don't let those of us in nonfiction completely call him our own."
—John D’Agata, author of Halls of Fame

"Racing in Place is a fine collection of essays, a worthy addition to the genre that Montaigne set in motion.
—Steven Harvey, Fourth Genre

More / Hide

Description
Is it truth or fiction? Memoir or essay? Narrative or associative? To a writer like Michael Martone, questions like these are high praise. Martone’s studied disregard of form and his unruffled embrace of the prospect that nothing—no story, no life—is ever quite finished have yielded some of today’s most splendidly unconventional writing. Add to that an utter weakness for pop Americana and what Louise Erdrich has called a “deep affection for the ordinary,” and you have one of the few writers who could pull off something like Racing in Place. Up the steps of the Washington Monument, down the home stretch at the Indy Speedway, and across the parking lot of the Moon Winx Lodge in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Martone chases, and is chased by, memories--and memories of memories. He writes about his grandfather’s job as a meter reader, those seventies-era hotels with atrium lobbies and open glass elevators, and the legendary temper of basketball coach Bob Knight.

Martone, as Peter Turchi has said, looks “under stones the rest of us leave unturned.” So, what is he really up to when he dwells on the make of Malcolm X’s eyeglasses or the runner-up names for Snow White’s seven dwarfs? In “My Mother Invents a Tradition,” Martone tells how his mom, as the dean of girls at a brand-new high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, “constructed a nostalgic past out of nothing.” Sitting at their dining room table, she came up with everything from the school colors (orange and brown) to the yearbook title (Bear Tracks). Look, and then look again, Martone is saying. “You never know. I never know.”

Page count: 184 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

 



Paper
List price: $19.95
978-0-8203-3039-6
1/25/2008

buy button
View Shopping Cart

Ebook
List price: $18.95
978-0-8203-4282-5
8/15/2011
Check ebook availability


Michael Martone’s story “The Death of Derek Jeter” recently appeared in Esquire. His short fiction, essays, and articles are widely published. Martone’s books include The Flatness and Other Landscapes and Unconventions, both published by Georgia. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama.