October 27 |7 PM
777 NW Beach Drive
Newport OR 97365
Free to Students
Somewhere in Della's consumptive, industrial wasteland of a city, a bomb goes off. It is not the first, and will not be the last.
Reactions to the attacks are polarized. Police activity intensifies. Della's revolutionary parents welcome the upheaval but are trapped within their own insular beliefs. Her activist restaurant co-workers, who would rather change their identities than the world around them, resume a shallow rebellion of hair-dye, sex parties, and self-absorption. As those bombs keep inching closer, thudding deep and real between the sounds of katydids fluttering in the still of the city night, and the destruction begins to excite her. What begins as terror threats called in to greasy bro-bars across the block boils over into a desperate plot, intoxicating and captivating Della and leaving her little chance for escape.
Zazen unfolds as a search for clarity soured by irresolution and catastrophe, yet made vital by the thin, wild veins of imagination run through each escalating moment, tensing and relaxing, unfurling and ensnaring. Vanessa Veselka renders Della and her world with beautiful, freighting, and phantasmagorically intelligent accuracy, crafting from their shattered constitutions a perversely perfect mirror for our own selves and state.
Vanessa Veselka is writer whose work appears in The Atlantic, Tin House, The FSG anthology Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, and Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll. Her novel Zazen is the 2012 PEN / Bingham prize-winner for fiction.
Vanessa Veselka is something like a literary comet: bright-burning, far-reaching, rarely seen, and a little dangerous.—Tom Bissell