JESS ARNDT discusses her new short story collection LARGE ANIMALS, with MAGGIE NELSON

Large Animals (Catapult)

Jess Arndt's striking debut collection confronts what it means to have a body. Boldly straddling the line between the imagined and the real, the masculine and the feminine, the knowable and the impossible, these twelve stories are an exhilarating and profoundly original expression of voice. In "Jeff," Lily Tomlin confuses Jess for Jeff, instigating a dark and hilarious identity crisis. In "Together," a couple battles a mysterious STD that slowly undoes their relationship, while outside a ferocious weed colonizes their urban garden. And in "Contrails," a character on the precipice of a seismic change goes on a tour of past lovers, confronting their own reluctance to move on.  Arndt's subjects are canny observers even while they remain dangerously blind to their own truest impulses. Often unnamed, these narrators challenge the limits of language--collectively, their voices create a transgressive new formal space that makes room for the queer, the nonconforming, the undefined. And yet, while they crave connection, love, and understanding, they are constantly at risk of destroying themselves. Large Animals pitches toward the heart, pushing at all our most tender parts--our sex organs, our geography, our words, and the tendons and nerves of our culture.

Praise for Large Animals
"Reading Arndt is like walking toward a shimmering desert mirage and being met with a cloud of acid instead of an oasis of cool water. . . . A deeply transgressive, riveting shot out of the gate. Arndt is one to watch."--Kirkus Reviews 

"Arndt's short stories are delicious flights of fancy, or obsession, or fertile curiosity--or, more accurately, some beguiling combination of all three...This is a playful and provocative collection, full of sly, deft turns of phrase and striking imagery."--Publishers Weekly

"Arndt tells stories that resemble handfuls of ribbons--vibrant, overlapping, tangled, seemingly more middles than beginnings and endings. . . . Arndt's keen, wild stories are truly original, and readers will hope for more."--Booklist

Jess Arndt received her MFA at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, and was a 2013 Graywolf SLS Fellow and 2010 Fiction Fellow at the New York Foundation of the Arts. Her writing has appeared in Fence, Bomb, Aufgabe, Parkett, and Night Papers, and in her manifesto for the Knife's Shaking the Habitual world tour. She is a co-founder of New Herring Press, dedicated to publishing prose and polemics. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Maggie Nelson ​is ​the author of nine books of poetry and prose​, many of which have become cult classics which defy classification​. Her nonfiction titles include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner and New York Timesbestseller The Argonauts (2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (2011; a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Bluets (2009; named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years), The Red Parts​: Autobiography of a Trial​ (​​2007,​ reissued ​in​ 2016), and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (2007). Her poetry titles include Something Bright, Then Holes (2007) and Jane: A Murder (2005; finalist for the PEN/ Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir). She has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA in Poetry, an Innovative Literature Fellowship from Creative Capital, and an Arts Writers Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. She holds a PhD in English Literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has taught literature, writing, art, criticism and theory at the New School, Pratt Institute, Wesleyan ​University, and CalArts. In 2016 she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles.

Jess Arndt photo by Johanna Breiding

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Large Animals: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787487
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - May 9th, 2017

Bluets Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wave Books - October 1st, 2009

The Argonauts Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016

Jane: A Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593766580
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - September 13th, 2016

The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393343144
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 13th, 2012

The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

Something Bright, Then Holes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933368801
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Soft Skull Press - October 1st, 2007

Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609381097
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: University of Iowa Press - December 21st, 2011