The two of us have owned Antigone Books for more than 25 years, happy to
be part of Antigone's long (43 year) history. It's been an absolutely fabulous time, surrounded as we've been by great staff, great customers, wonderful books and assorted miscellany.
It's getting to be time for us to pass the baton! Hard as it is even for us to believe, we are ready to begin a careful search for a new owner or owners
who will be a great match for the store. Might that person be you or someone you know?
There's no rush on this process. We'll be continuing with business as usual at
the store, meanwhile taking our time to look for the perfect person or persons.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of walking through the sliding doors of Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Phoenix, feeling a whoosh as the hot outside air mixed with the icy air conditioning, ushering me inside a grown-up, important place. I loved the gift shop at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital, particularly the flower arrangements you could order that looked like a clown or a shaggy white dog. I didn't know how they did that, but I knew that if I was ever in the hospital (I never was, not till I had babies), that's what I wanted. Years later, as an adult, I was poking around that same gift shop and noticed something in the back of the refrigerator case. A clown flower arrangement! It didn't look as good as I remembered, just a carnation in a cheap vase, decorated with googly eyes and pipe cleaners. But that wave of nostalgia was a huge rush.
Here in the hospital, at the bedside of an elderly grandparent or great aunt, I'd see cousins, aunts, and uncles I hadn't seen in months (or longer), tape my homemade card on the wall, and head down with other visiting family members for what I considered to be an exotic meal in the cafeteria. Even my father, not the most sentimental of souls, often showed up for visiting hours, which tended to involve minor injuries and illnesses. Nothing too serious (I was not brought along on those visits, anyway), and as far as I know, no one in our family ever had a baby with any kind of significant health issue.
So we’ve got the unmoving words on the page. That’s the first black mark against us. Second: do we get to the point? How soon? Here’s the answer: no. We don’t get to the point, not for 200 pages at least. Sometimes 3,600, if we’re Knausgaard. At writing workshops they taught us to show not tell — well, showing takes time. We paint a slow picture. You can see the brushstrokes. We don’t get to the point, and sometimes when we do our readers don’t notice, in fact. It’s so couched in nuance it can fly right over a person’s head. What was that you said? I couldn’t quite make it out.All joking aside: Millet's new novel, Sweet Lamb of Heaven, continues to draw rave reviews. At Slate, Laura Miller writes:
Third, sound bites. We don’t have them. No pull quotes. No celebrity names. Few if any pictures. The list of what we don’t have is a long one. Our tools for captivation are few, and often ungainly.
Which is why I’ve settled on porn, come to a decision that my next book after this one will be devoted to relentless, often hardcore pornography. I can’t give you an exact preview here on the pages of Salon, of course: this is a decent website. Plus that would be a spoiler.