Skip to content

Photo-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2014

Here is my list of works of fiction and poetry published in 2014 containing embedded photographs.  You can see all of my previous lists via the drop-down menu “Photo-Embedded Literature” at the top of this page.  I’ve updated a number of the annual lists recently, usually thanks to readers who point me in the direction of books I’ve overlooked.  If you know of a book from any year that I might not have mentioned, please let me know in a comment. [Added to on March 23, April 8, August 25, 2015 January 18, February 18, 22, March 27, July 13, 2016.]

Song of the Shank

Jeffery Renard Allen. Song of the Shank. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press. Several photographs credited to various sources.

Amis Zone of InterestMartin Amis. The Zone of Interest. London: Jonathan Cape. Contains a single photograph of Adolf Hitler and Martin Bormann placed between the final page and the Acknowledgements.

Golden Handcuffs 19-001

Mark Axelrod. “Kissing Sonia Braga.” A story in Golden Handcuffs Review 19 (Fall-Winter 2014-15), pp. 136-149. A short story containing seven unattributed photographs of the actress Sonia Braga, including film posters and snapshots.

Ball Silence once Begun

Jesse Ball. Silence Once Begun. NY:Pantheon. Contains sixteen unattributed photographs.

Road to Yasukuni

Robert Joseph Bevenour. Road to Yasukuni. Tucson: Wheatmark. A historical novel that contains twenty-four photographs of World War II, credited to various sources.

SupernaturalEnhancementsEdgar Cantero. The Supernatural Enhancements. NY: Doubleday. A haunted house tale that includes ciphers, hand-drawn labyrinths, and several photographs of documents.

Every Day Is for the Thief 2

Teju Cole. Every Day Is for the Thief. NY: Random House. A slightly revised edition of the 2007 book published in Nigeria. My review of the original edition can be seen here.

Layout 1

Julio Cortázar. Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia Narrated by Julio Cortázar. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). The first English translation of Cortazar’s 1975 book, originally titled Fantomas contra los vampiros multinacionales. After serving on the Second Russell Tribunal in Brussels in 1975, which condemned human rights violations in Latin America and was deeply critical of multinational corporations and countries that were propping up criminal regimes like that of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Cortázar decided to promote the work of the Tribunal through his writing. But the result was more comedic than grim. In this short, heavily-illustrated text, Cortázar, Susan Sontag, other well-known writers, and Fantomas (a hugely popular sociopathic thief who was the subject of scores of French novels and films) plot ways to support the work of the Tribunal. The illustrations are a mix of photographs and photomontages, illustrations apparently from early twentieth century editions of Fantomas stories, and sections lifted directly from a Mexican comic book series featuring Fantomas that ran from the 1960s into the 1980s. The specific comic book that Cortázar reproduces here is from 1975, Fantomas la amenaza elegante, which included the character of Julio Cortázar himself.

Memory Theatre

Simon Critchley. Memory Theatre. London: Fitzcarraldo Editions. Contains a sequence of photographs by Liam Gillick. The publisher calls this an “essay” rather than a book of fiction, but it seems to be an essay structured as (or within) a work of fiction. My review of Critchely’s book can be read here.

Doppelt Lazy Suzie

Suzanne Doppelt. Lazy Suzie. Brooklyn: Litmus Press, 2014. Unclassifiable texts (prose poems/essays/meditations?) interspersed with 28 pages of Doppelt’s signature paired b&w photographs.

Harris you havent asked

Jana Harris. You Haven’t Asked About My Wedding or What I Wore: Poems of Courtship on the American Frontier. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press. Contains 28 b&w, uncredited historical photographs of scenes and people from the 19th century American west.

Tabloid_cover02

Matthea Harvey. If the Tabloids Are True, What Are You? Minneapolis: Graywolf. Poems and photo-based artwork, all by Harvey.

Hines Young Country

Kerry Hines. Young Country. Auckland: University of Auckland Press. Kerry’s poetry responds to the photographs of the 19th century New Zealand photographs of William Williams. With 82 b&w photographs.

Jarman cover

Derek Jarman. A Finger in the Fishes Mouth. London: Test Centre. A facsimile of the exceedingly rare 1972 publication issued by Bettiscombe Press (Dorset). A limited edition of 700 copies. Contains poems by Jarman paired with postcards from his collection. My review of Jarman’s book can be read here.

Lazar Pity the Poor Immigrant

Zachary Lazar. I Pity the Poor Immigrant. NY: Little Brown. Includes several variously credited photographs.

Lerner 1004

Ben Lerner. 10:04. NY: Faber & Faber. Contains numerous photographs and other illustrations, credited to a variety of sources.

Madam New Orleans

Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin. Madam: A Novel of New Orleans. NY: Plume. Each chapter begins with an image of or from New Orleans, circa 1890s. Most are photographs, credited to various sources.

Mr. Bolsover

Cornelius Medvei. The Making of Mr Bolsover. London: Harvill Secker. A fictional biography with a plate section in the middle of the book with eight b&w photographs that are undoubtedly by the author.

autour-du-monde,M164680

Laurent Mauvignier. Autour de Monde. Paris: Editions de Minuit. A series of stories connected only by the day on which they occur: March 11, 2011, the day of the giant tsunami hit Japan. 14 small b&w photographs credited to various sources separate each section of the book.

Olsen Theories

Lance Olsen. Theories of Forgetting. Tuscaloosa: Fiction Collective 2, 2014. A bi-directional novel with a circular text allowing the reader to start at either end of the book, read through it, flip it over, and continue reading. Contains many b&w photographs. “Film, photography, and manipulated images are by A[ndi] and L[ance] Olsen.”

In light of what we knowZia Haider Rahman. In the Light of What We Know. NY: Farrar Straus & Giroux. Contains a single image of Kurt Gödel and Albert Einstein walking in Princeton.

Rankine Citizen

Claudia Rankine. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis: Graywolf. Book-length poem with numerous photographs from a variety of sources, mostly contemporary artworks, along with some photojournalism.

Hollow City

Ransom Riggs. Hollow City. Philadelphia: Quirk. Contains numerous vintage found photographs, mostly from the author’s own collection. A follow-up to the author’s 2011 book Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.

Rombes AbsolutionNicholas Rombes. The Absolution of Acestes Laing. Two Dollar Radio. Contains a single photograph, a film still credited to the archives of the Museum of the City of New York.

Quartet-for-the-End-of-Time

Johanna Skibsrud. Quartet for the End of Time. New York: W.W. Norton. Contains numerous credited photographs.

Wilson Three Bridges

James Wilson. Three Bridges. Miami: Neverland. A novel with numerous uncredited photographs.

House of Coates-001

Brad Zellar. House of Coates. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press. Contains more than sixty photographs by Alec Soth.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the round-up: as always, I find here things I would have otherwise missed!

    This is probably for a different list, but you might find Laurent Mauvignier’s “Autour du monde” (Éd. Minuit, 2014) interesting: a sequence of 14 “voyages”, interweaving stories circling the globe and one point in time, the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Each story starts off with a small photograph (all photographs are credited at the end of the book and were taken by the author or by his friends). The images are almost “banal”: a fragment of a metro map, a palm tree, a landscape … and not much bigger than a thumbnail: the images seem “excerpted” from reality the way the moments constituting the stories are excerpted from the lives of the protagonists: moments that are not necessarily “privileged”, captured in medias res, without a clear beginning and often with no conclusion – so that the whole book could be seen as snapshots of the world, a world that is not necessarily all concerned with the disaster in Japan or its wake.

    January 29, 2015
    • Fascinating! I’ll have to get a copy. Thanks!

      January 29, 2015
      • Something else that will undoubtedly spark your interest. Olivier Rolin is already on your radar, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already seen it: last year Arte released a documentary he made on the Island of Solovki, in which he revisits the site of the infamous gulag in order to find traces of its legendary library. The French version can be viewed on youtube (http://youtu.be/pZtpHbF0wLE); the German (probably subtitled) should be available on VoD on Arte. Out of that documentary, there came out a book, “Solovki: la bibliothèque perdue” (éd. Le Bec en l’air) with photographs by Jean-Luc Bertini & text by O.R. (I don’t have it [yet], and am not sure how much text there is. A sampling of the photos is on the publisher’s website.) In the film, Rolin pauses for a moment over beautiful “journals” kept by one of the inmates, Alexei Feodossievitch Vangengheim, which were part of his correspondence with his daughter. In order to keep the child away from the horrors of gulag, he pretended that he was traveling, and his correspondence is, in some sense, an account of those travels. I have just received in the mail Olivier Rolin’s latest book, “Le météorologue” (Seuil 2014), which contains as color plates small-size (yet legible) reproductions of A.F.V’s work: pages from his herbals, fragments of story books, puzzles … The book traces the story of the meteorologist, interweaving fragments of first-person narrative (which might perhaps be freely translated from the correspondence – I have only just dipped into it).
        Olivier Rolin’s quest for the lost library of Solovki also brings to mind a short essay by Varlam Chalamov [Shalamov], “Mes bibliothèques” (in French, pub. by éditions Interférences, 2003), which I also recommend.

        February 7, 2015
      • Wonderful! Thank you for this comment. I will have to follow up on all of these.

        February 7, 2015
  2. If postcard picture-embedded fiction will count, Leche by R. Zamora Linmark. The story collection A Winter Book by Tove Jansson has photos. There’s also a Philippine YA book called Adventures of a Child of War by Lin Acacio-Flores.

    January 29, 2015
    • Rise, Thanks! All three sound intriguing.

      January 29, 2015
  3. Something else to add to your 2014 list: Lance Olsen, Theories of Forgetting (U of Ala Press). I bought this book attracted by the title, having no idea what to expect. It’s an engaging experimental novel that can be read forwards or backwards, depending on which way the volume lands on your desk: the front and back covers are identical. It’s a threefold narrative of the experience of memory loss, even aphasia, disintegrating narration, circling around the idea of decay of land forms and land art, in particular Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. It’s filled with photographs, some reprised, cropped or without change: shots of the Spiral Jetty, stills from a couple films, family photos, plus sketches and line drawings and newspaper clippings (the latter are interesting in that they present themselves as fragments of historical reality, whereas in fact report fictional events). The two main narratives / diaries written from either end of the book are annotated with hand-written comments in blue ink which form the third story-line (or rather a third angle on the same story). The narrative structure itself is meant to resemble a spiraling form; you get to know the characters by bits and pieces, starting out in medias res, the story folding in on itself. Similarly, as you go along, you figure out the relation between the two narratives and between the different speakers / addressees.

    March 7, 2016
    • Hey, thanks! I have two other books by Olsen, but never noticed this one before. It’s now on order.

      March 7, 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: