Susan Daitch in conversation with Eugene Lim
celebrating their two new novels
Siege of Comedians – by Susan Daitch – published by Dzanc Books
Search History – by Eugene Lim – published by Coffee House Press
about Siege of Comedians,
Award-winning author Susan Daitch returns with Siege of Comedians, a novel in triptych told through interconnected threads pulled taut by crimes long ago relegated to history.
In the first piece, an American forensic sculptor, reconstructing the faces of three victims receives a midnight visit from a man who threatens her life unless she alters the faces she’s almost completed. The twists and turns of the mystery lead her to a new life, working with forensic archeologists at a site near the Prater amusement park in Vienna.
In the second section, an accent coach discovers that the man implicated in the death of his girlfriend in 1970s Buenos Aires was once a censor and Assistant Minister of Propaganda in Vienna during World War II. When bodies start turning up under the former Propaganda offices, some date from the war period—but others are much older, their origins going back to the Ottoman siege of Vienna.
In the final arc, in the aftermath of the last battle between the Austrians and the Turks, a local businesswoman finds three displaced women from Istanbul—former wives of the sultan—wandering in Vienna and gives them shelter in her brothel, located on the site of the future Ministry of Propaganda.
Connected across time by intersecting crimes and themes of language, cultural assimilation, and nationalist conflicts, Siege of Comedians, part political thriller, part comic noir, reflects on aspects of the current refugee crisis, human trafficking, and identity.
About Search History
Search History oscillates between a wild cyberdog chase and lunch-date monologues as Eugene Lim deconstructs grieving and storytelling with uncanny juxtapositions and subversive satire.
Frank Exit is dead—or is he? While eavesdropping on two women discussing a dog-sitting gig over lunch, a bereft friend comes to a shocking realization: Frank has been reincarnated as a dog! This epiphany launches a series of adventures—interlaced with digressions about AI-generated fiction, virtual reality, Asian American identity in the arts, and lost parents—as an unlikely cast of accomplices and enemies pursues the mysterious canine. In elliptical, propulsive prose, Search History plumbs the depths of personal and collective consciousness, questioning what we consume, how we grieve, and the stories we tell ourselves.
about the authors:
Susan Daitch is the author of four novels, The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir (with City Lights) Paper Conspiracies (City Lights, 2011), L.C. (Lannan Foundation Selection and NEA Heritage Award), The Colorist, and a collection of short stories, Storytown, and White Lead: A Novel of Suspense. Her work has appeared in Tinhouse, Conjunctions, Guernica, BOMB, Ploughshares, failbetter.com, McSweeney’s, LitHub, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction, VLS, and The Brooklyn Rail. Her work was featured in The Review of Contemporary Fiction along with William Vollman and David Foster Wallace. Her fiction has been the subject of The Poetics of Postmodernism (Linda Hucheons, Routledge), History Made, History Imagined (David Price, University of Illinois), among others. She has taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently teaches at Hunter College.
Eugene Lim is the author of the novels Fog & Car (Ellipsis Press, 2008), The Strangers (Black Square Editions, 2013), Dear Cyborgs (FSG Originals, 2017), and his most recently published book Search History (Coffee House Press, 2021). His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The Believer, The Baffler, Granta, Dazed, Fence, Little Star, The Denver Quarterly, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket2, Gigantic, Your Impossible Voice, The Coming Envelope, Everyday Genius, Vestiges and elsewhere. Pessimist of the intellect by night; by day, he’s house librarian at the Charles Xavier School for the Greatly Responsibled. He runs Ellipsis Press, and lives in Jackson Heights, NY, with Joanna and Felix.
This event has been sponsored by the City Lights Foundation