OPEN EVERYDAY

10AM
-
10PM

(323)
660-1175

1818
NORTH
VERMONT
AVE

LOS ANGELES
90027

 

RACHEL NAGELBERG reads from her debut novel THE FIFTH WALL with STEPHEN BEACHY

The Fifth Wall (Black Sparrow Books)

In this debut novel by Rachel Nagelberg, conceptual artist Sheila B. Ackerman heeds a mysterious urge to return to her estranged family home and arrives at the exact moment of her mother’s suicide. In an attempt to cope with and understand her own self destructive tendencies, Sheila plants a camera on the lawn outside the house to film 24/7 while workers deconstruct the physical object that encases so many of her memories. Meanwhile, as she begins to experience frequent blackouts, she finds herself hunting a robot drone through the San Francisco MOMA with a baseball bat, part of a provocative, technological show, The Last Art, and resuming a violent affair with her college professor. With a backdrop of post-9/11 San Francisco, Sheila navigates the social-media- obsessed, draught-ridden landscape of her life, exploring the frail line between the human impulse to control everything that takes place around us and the futility of excessive effort to do so. The Fifth Wall allows readers to explore from a safe distance the recesses of their own minds, leaving the haunting feeling of depths that yet remain unknown.

Praise for The Fifth Wall

Set into motion by an inexplicable, traumatic and violent real-life event, Rachel Nagelberg’s brilliant first novel begins at the limits of contemporary art, as it attempts to reflect the ungraspable present. Born in 1984 into a familiarly frayed American family, her protagonist Sheila B. Ackerman, a former art student, is neither especially likable or unlikeable: that is, she’s incredibly real.  A close artistic cousin to Joni Murphy’s Double Teenage and Natasha Stagg’s Surveys, The Fifth Wall is a new kind of novel. Female and philosophical, emotion flows through the book across a dense and familiarly incomprehensible web of information, from satellite selfies to awkward sex to internet beheadings and shamanic tourism in the third world. Nagelberg's engrossing narration is littered with stunning perception: We look into the distance to be able to see what’s right in front of us.  She writes without affect, and with unselfconscious acuity.That is, she writes really well.  – Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

"Nagelberg has a true gift, able to write gorgeously on the line level with unctuous images. And simultaneously, there's a readable page-turner here. Most of us are lucky to do one of those, which is a testament to the singular talent.  This book cascades beauty and meaning and truth.– Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life and Termite Parade, a New York Times Editor’s Choice pick

"The Fifth Wall crackles with braininess and sex. It's hallucinatory and interactive and funny and sad and it has something incandescent to show you." – Stephen Beachy, author of The Whistling Song and Distortion, and professor at the University of San Francisco 

Rachel Nagelberg is an American novelist, poet, and conceptual artist living in Los Angeles. The Fifth Wall is her debut novel.

Stephen Beachy is the author of the novels boneyard, Distortion, and The Whistling Song, and the twin novellas Some Phantom/No Time Flat. He has also written and is continuing to write the “Amish Terror” sci-fi series that begins with Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity, and his newest novel Glory Hole will be published by FC2 fall of 2017. He is Prose Editor of the journal Your Impossible Voice, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco, and lives in San Diego.

Event date: 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Fifth Wall Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781574232288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Black Sparrow Press - May 15th, 2017