The author of a provocative novel filled with political satire – that has been labeled perfect for the chaos of our times – will lead the next virtual Indiana University East Mindful Explorations event at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13.
Jessica Anthony will read from her acclaimed book Enter the Aardvark then answer questions from the virtual audience during the IU East Facebook Live event.
Her appearance is part of IU East’s Visiting Writers Series organized by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The talk is sponsored by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Mindful Explorations, courtesy of the William H. and Jean R. Reller Endowment. It is presented by First Bank Richmond.
Anthony’s book has garnered reviews from major publications, including Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
Brian Brodeur, assistant professor of English at IU East, had this to say about the writer: ‘Rich in political implications and rife with satirical wit, Jess Anthony’s work drips with delicious irony. Though she has her own private affiliations, her work moves beyond the limitations of the lampoon, the pastiche, or the caricature into something far more strange and far more relevant. Most of all, Anthony’s work is hilarious and heart-felt. She’s one of three or four of the younger, contemporary American novelists writing for and about our time with such mastery and verve she’s quickly becoming impossible to ignore.’
For more on Anthony’s work, Brodeur recommended an online interview with Anthony on ‘The Millions.’
“This interview,” Brodeur said, “provides an abundance of information about the book, Anthony’s writing practice, and lots of other stuff related to the reading.”
The discussion is available online available online.
A Los Angeles Times review on Anthony’s book written by Maggie Lange says, “Dovetailing coincidences and epiphanies, profound and slapsticky, hilarious and depressing at once, Enter the Aardvark is brutally suited to our moment of absurd political theater.”
A review in The Guardian calls the book an “achingly funny farce. Who would have guessed that a satire about an oily Republican congressman, 19th-century taxidermy and a creature so ugly it resembles ‘a pig screwed by a donkey’ would be the perfect tonic for testing times?”
Anthony also is the author of The Convalescent and Chopsticks. She is a teacher and director of the Creative Writing Concentration at Bates College in Maine.
Enter the Aardvark was published by Little, Brown on March 24, just after the United States began shutting down because of COVID-19.
Anthony is known for taking on unique jobs as research for her creative writing.
For the finish of this book, she guarded a famous bridge that connects towns in Slovakia and Hungary, over the Danube.
She explained in her visit on May 8 with Ferris.
“The bridge has an amazing history. It was destroyed in WWI, then rebuilt. The Nazis bombed it again, and it was left that way, obliterated, separating the two towns for over 60 years. When the bridge was finally rebuilt in October of 2001, an artist in residency was established to guard it against the reappearance of fascism through the act of creation. … The days were long and slow and boring, the perfect climate for novel writing, and were punctuated only by the Friday nights when the “V2 Rock Pub” next door played Metallica covers, or some other occasional, strange event. … On my mind throughout that summer were notions of bridging literally, as I crossed the bridge once a day, and metaphorically.”
Anthony is scheduled to spend a month in residence in 2021 as a research fellow at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.
Anthony joked with Ferris about the multitude of changes in her life and career, including having her college closed and a highly anticipated book-signing tour called off in reaction to the pandemic.
She also noted how the Internet has reacted positively. “A virtual book tour didn’t exist last month (pre-pandemic), and now everyone’s doing them. My first event, we had 100 people join from all over the country…it was actually a pretty extraordinary, novel experience,” Anthony said.
IU East followers are the beneficiaries of that new book-tour genre: They will have a chance to enjoy a novel experience together with Anthony during her virtual visit.