This week at Pete’s, the readers both had books on their way out. Luis Jaramillo kicked off the evening. His new story collection, The Doctor’s Wife, was either released on Wednesday, or according to Amazon, next month. The collection is, as Jaramillo explains, really a series of interconnected stories. And they are short. He read four or five in twenty minutes. Because of their brevity, the stories in a way felt like a prose Haiku. The story built up in the first ninety percent of the narrative and then concluded with a short revelation, often humorous.
The first story he read did capture some sense of childhood that threw me back into my own imaginary fantasy realms. Yet, partly I was left wondering why I should care about these children romping through the forest. Another story, about the doctor gone fishing, seemed like a long joke. At least I laughed.
Unfortunately, throughout the stories he read, it seems the Doctor and his Wife both remain anonymous. Maybe this is a minor point. Maybe its meaningful to the broader text contextually. Maybe its just a thing people sometimes do to be cool.
Jaramillo seemed nervous reading, or perhaps simply a bit unprepared. He read with maladroit stumbling, jumbling words as he spoke. His prose did not seem to help. Jarring word choices interrupted the rhythm and whenever it did seem to emerge, the prose fought back.
After a short break, Katie Kitamura took the stage. She speaks with a British accent, unrecognizable to me, but something posh. She began reading from her second novel, Gone to the Forest, released in August.
The novel deals with colonialism and a white farmer having homesteaded in this far off place. Kitamura takes us there easily, convinces us of the land, the people, their faults, their desires.
She breathes easily as she slowly reads off her carefully constructed sentences. Most of her phrases are short, tightly woven with an economy of words. The only detraction to her style is perhaps a monotone beat as she spoke, but just as this effect becomes overwhelming, she shifts the pace with an elaborate sentence. Overall, it seems Kitamura’s novel was polished prose, and she gave a solidly enjoyable reading.
Luis Jaramillo reads from his book The Doctor’s Wife at Pete’s Candy Store
Katie Kitamura reads from her book Gone to the Forest