KATHRYN SCANLAN reads from her debut work of fiction AUG 9--FOG with AMINA CAIN

Aug 9--Fog (MCD)

A stark, elegiac account of unexpected pleasures and the progress of seasons 

Fifteen years ago, Kathryn Scanlan found a stranger’s five-year diary at an estate auction in a small town in Illinois. The owner of the diary was eighty-six years old when she began recording the details of her life in the small book, a gift from her daughter and son-in-law. The diary was falling apart―water-stained and illegible in places―but magnetic to Scanlan nonetheless. 

After reading and rereading the diary, studying and dissecting it, for the next fifteen years she played with the sentences that caught her attention, cutting, editing, arranging, and rearranging them into the composition that became Aug 9―Fog (she chose the title from a note that was tucked into the diary). “Sure grand out,” the diarist writes. “That puzzle a humdinger,” she says, followed by, “A letter from Lloyd saying John died the 16th.” An entire state of mourning reveals itself in “2 canned hams.” The result of Scanlan’s collaging is an utterly compelling, deeply moving meditation on life and death.

 In Aug 9Fog, Scanlan’s spare, minimalist approach has a maximal emotional effect, remaining with the reader long after the book ends. It is an unclassifiable work from a visionary young writer and artist—a singular portrait of a life revealed by revision and restraint.

Praise for Aug 9--Fog

"Scanlan’s outstanding debut inventively adapts a real woman’s diary . . . [Aug 9-Fog] is a fascinating chronicle of Scanlan’s obsession, but, more than that, it transforms a seemingly ordinary life into a profound and moving depiction of how humans can love and live. Scanlan’s portrait of an everywoman feels entirely new."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Wholly original . . . [Aug 9–Fog] blurs the lines between nonfiction and fiction, meditating on the passage of time through the life of one woman.”The A.V. Club

"There is an undeniable poignancy in the readerly act of filling in the gaps of this octogenarian's life, her voice pulled into the present from where it had been suspended . . . A work of frequent beauty."Kirkus

"If you ever wondered what life was about, if you ever felt yours was not 'exciting' enough, if you ever turned in vain to highbrow books that might tell you, then you should read this book, for the ordinary diaries of ordinary people will reassure you that yours is no different than anyone else’s—friends die, flowers come fast. This one, written half a century ago by an elderly woman, has been artfully arranged by Kathryn Scanlan to reveal the simplicity—and hidden poetry—of all our lives." —Mary Ruefle, author of My Private Property, Trances of the Blast, and Madness, Rack, and Honey

Kathryn Scanlan lives in Los Angeles. Her stories have appeared in NOONFenceAmerican Short FictionTin HouseCaketrain, and The Iowa Review, among other publications.

Photo by Roxane Hopper

Amina Cain is the author most recently of the short story collection Creature, out with Dorothy, a publishing project, and a novel, Indelicacy, which will be published in 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her essays and short stories have appeared in n+1The Paris Review DailyBOMBFull StopVice, the Believer Logger, and other places. She lives in Los Angeles and is a literature contributing editor at BOMB.

Photo by Polly Antonia Barrowman

Event date: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Aug 9 - Fog Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374106874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - June 4th, 2019