The Epicenter Reading Series continues as Litquake, in conjunction with City Lights, presented an evening of readings with Joe Meno, Nathan Larson and Josh Mohr, celebrating the release of Meno’s Office Girl & Larson’s The Nervous System: A Dewey Decimal novel. Both books were published by Akashic Books. The event was held in the North Beach favorite, Tosca Cafe, July 12, 2012.
Nobody dies in Office Girl. Nobody talks about the international political situation. There is no mention of any economic collapse. Nothing takes place during a World War.
Instead, this novel is about young people doing interesting things in the final moments of the last century. Odile is a lovely twenty-three-year-old art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a twenty-five-year-old shirker who’s most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999–just before the end of one world and the beginning of another–Office Girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life.
Joe Meno’s latest novel also features black-and-white illustrations by renowned artist Cody Hudson and photographs by visionary photographer Todd Baxter.
After a series of large-scale terrorist attacks, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if unique moral code, has taken up residence at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Dubbed “Dewey Decimal” for his desire to reorganize the library’s stock, he gets by as bagman and muscle for unscrupulous politicians and underworld figures–as detailed in the first book in this series, The Dewey Decimal System.
In The Nervous Sysytem, Decimal, attempting to clean up loose ends after the violent events of first book, stumbles upon information concerning the gruesome murder of a prostitute, and a prominent U.S. senator’s involvement. Immediately he finds himself chasing ghosts and fighting for his life, pursued by Blackwater-style private military contractors and the ever-present specter of his own past. Decimal confronts a twilight world of Korean hostess bars, childhood bogeymen, and the face of the military-industrial complex gone haywire–all framed by a city descending toward total chaos.
Nathan Larson is best known as an award-winning film music composer, having created the scores for over thirty movies, such as Boys Don’t Cry, Dirty Pretty Things, and The Messenger. His highly acclaimed debut novel, The Dewey Decimal System, was published in the spring of 2011. In the ’90s, he was the lead guitarist for the influential prog-punk outfit Shudder to Think. Larson lives in Harlem, New York City, with his wife and son. Visit: http://www.joemeno.com/
Joe Meno is a fiction writer and playwright who lives in Chicago. He is a winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Great Lakes Book Award, and was a finalist for the Story Prize. He is the author of five novels and two short story collections including Hairstyles of the Damned, The Great Perhaps, How the Hula Girl Sings, The Boy Detective Fails, Tender as Hellfire, and Demons in the Spring. His short fiction has been published in One Story, McSweeney’s, Swink, LIT, TriQuarterly, Other Voices, Gulf Coast, and broadcast on NPR. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and Chicago Magazine. He is an associate professor in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. Visit: http://nathanlarson.net/
Joshua Mohr is the author of Some Things That Meant the World to Me, Termite Parade, and the recently released Damascus . He lives in San Francisco and teaches fiction writing. Visit: http://www.joshuamohr.net/