arlo klahr

Skylight is a great place. I love it here: all my coworkers and all the customers and the neighborhood and the books.

I work mostly in the backroom (in the Arts Annex) but also help out front recommending books. When I'm not here, or reading, I'm probably playing music. Or hanging with smüddles, the cat. 

Come check out the store and say hello!


She Would Be King: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 11th, 2018

Lion Cross Point Cover Image
By Masatsugu Ono, Angus Turvill (Translator)
ISBN: 9781931883702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Lines Press - April 10th, 2018

An amazingly gentle depiction of the life of a young boy in a sleepy coastal town in Japan. Page by lovely page the book sifts through the inchoate and shifting memories of the boy and the brutality he suffered (along with his mother and older brother) when they lived in the city, and it takes in his impressions of the new family—the community—that is forming around him and coming to his aid now that he is separated from them. With the help of a supernatural dolphin, maybe, and maybe these people, he’ll be able to get through and go on. Ono’s voice is so steady, so soft, so attuned, that he brings out barely registrable frequencies and rarely registered voices. A quiet stunner.

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Book of Mutter (Semiotext(e)) Cover Image
By Kate Zambreno, Chris Kraus (Editor)
ISBN: 9781584351962
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Semiotext(e) - March 17th, 2017

This is a brilliant and dark book of mourning and memory. It took 13 years for Zambreno to sculpt it all together and you can feel it: It’s as sharp as a razor, taking in everyone and everything from wounded outsider artist Henry Darger and widowed and institutionalized Mary Todd Lincoln, to Virginia Woolf, Louise Bourgeois, Roland Barthes and his own Mourning Diary and many others. This is the type of book that has created its own beauty and its own form and leaves you feeling like you’ve come to literature for the first time! Wow…                                                                         

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Blue Self-Portrait Cover Image
By Noemi Lefebvre, Sophie Lewis (Translator)
ISBN: 9781945492105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - April 3rd, 2018

An amazing book, one that I loved and can’t get over. A woman on a 90 minute flight from Berlin to Paris obsesses over a maybe failed relationship with a German-American pianist and bathes in shame. In the process we get a book composed in the manner of a Schoenberg 12-tone piece, moments of absurdity, moments of soaring brilliance, and above all a fierce guiding intelligence.

Incest Cover Image
By Christine Angot, Tess Lewis (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780914671879
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - November 7th, 2017

To get through the whole book is to see how the author has used form to disturb, disorient, and then ultimately to intervene, to clarify, leaving the reader clear-eyed but still gasping for breath, staring at something awful.

A tough book, but so brilliant.


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The Story of My Teeth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894098
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Coffee House Press - September 15th, 2015

The charming and ultimately unreliable narrator of this book is a “lover and collector of good stories, which [are] the only honest way of modifying the value of an object.”  To this end he employs hyperboles and allegories and circular and elliptical storytelling (plus so much more) for our reading pleasure. There’s so much to enjoy in this book that it’s even more powerful when the pathos does come in. Add to all that the brilliant literary references and the fact that this was written in collaboration with workers in a juice factory in the suburbs of Mexico City and you have what could be described as a  real “three-dimensional” novel.  If you haven’t read Luiselli before this would be a great place to start.               


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Snow Country (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679761044
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 1996

A beautiful and sad book. A classic of modern Japanese literature. The sentences are addictive. The location is haunting. The characters are wanting to love (love life, love each other) and not to waste. It sometimes has a dream-feel and sometimes a film-feel, but it’s something else altogether. Read the famous first sentence and see for yourself.  


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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2016

These stories (and Berlin herself) were a discovery and revelation to me when this book first came out. Read these rough, warm, worn, shining, deadpan, brilliant, funny, sad stories and I think you’ll feel the same way.


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Outline: A Novel (Outline Trilogy #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374228347
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 13th, 2015

This is an unassuming book that turns out to be a really thrilling and enthralling reading experience. Who would have thought so? The premise seems so simple and quiet: Just conversations, basically. And a narrator who doesn't seem to want to reveal anything of herself. But it's the author--who is just an amazingly skilled and passionate crafts-person--who makes this one of the freshest and most enjoyable things I've read in a while. I felt like new regions of my brain were lighting up as I read this there you go!

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No One Cover Image
By Gwenaelle Aubry, Trista Selous (Translator), Rick Moody (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781935639220
Availability: Special Order
Published: Tin House Books - January 24th, 2012

Richly, deeply, darkly poetic—A story by a daughter about her mentally ill father— Who was he really behind the faces he maintained? A brilliant gem of a novel.

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The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594205903
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Press - June 14th, 2016

Ehrenreich's important and compassionate book shows the lives of ordinary Palestinian citizens in different West Bank settings in the years leading up to and through Israel's Operation Brother's Keeper and Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 summer war. With sensitivity and journalistic skill he paints a picture of the complex, shifting and tragic realities of life under the occupation. The weeks of protest, tear gas, stun grenades, imprisonments, bureaucratic tangles, even the deaths of loved ones, children and parents, are here. But also here are the moments of love and hope and beauty and pride that can only be gained by living and spending time in a place and with a people trying to live their lives. Contrasted with this, Ehrenreich shows the systematic and rationalized (and sometimes not so rational) grinding and cutting away of this hope by the various strategies and forces of the occupation and settler movements. One is left asking how this can happen to a people even as the answers are shown in plain daylight in the book. 

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Beatlebone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385540292
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - November 17th, 2015

Review coming! But so far it's really great. Comes out November 17th...

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A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566893688
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

Read this book. Tell your friends. If you’re looking for something shattering, brilliant, bold, heartbreaking and honest, something that’s going to stand the test of time and that still affirms the old time-tested values of fiction I think this is one for you. It’s experimental, yes, but Eimear McBride knows what to do to tell a story. Her portrayal of the girl, the young woman, and what she goes through is from the gut and from the heart and like nothing I’ve read before.                                    

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Hotel Juarez: Stories, Rooms and Loops Cover Image
ISBN: 9781558857681
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Arte Publico Press - May 1st, 2013

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The Guest Cat Cover Image
By Takashi Hiraide, Eric Selland (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811221504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - January 28th, 2014

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Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307390301
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Vintage - April 6th, 2010

It’s good to know that there are writers like Dyer out there: Consummately skilled and completely daring. Throughout this impossible to describe, delicious slice of a novel Dyer seems to be exploring twin notions of “losing oneself,” — physically, mentally, or spiritually — and “finding oneself:” Which is which? Which one is good? What do we seek in this life? The language is modern, light, and often funny, but beneath the surface complex images and symbols flow deeply and darkly, as befits the two great watery cities of the title. This book is just so much more than I can say. All hail Ganoona!

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Skippy Dies Cover Image
ISBN: 9780865479432
Availability: Special Order
Published: Faber & Faber - August 31st, 2010

When Skippy first came into my life (the character and the book) I was curious, wanting to know about him and his world, why he died and everything. Soon afterward, as I started reading and getting deeper into his milieu, I became very enthralled, the sheer pathos and mind-busting humor winning me over against any ingrained cynicism I might have harbored. But then the inevitable happened (did it have to be inevitable?) and Skippy was dead (and the book had to end) and I was left with a hole in my everyday life – I truly miss Skippy. I wish I could know more about him. About all of them. What a miracle for a book to do.

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Middle Men Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451649314
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 19th, 2013

In Gavin’s stories LA is a purgatorial place occasionally shot through with great uplifting beauty and fire, a place filled with workers and dreamers. Sometimes we drive through amber light that looks like the “inside of a pharmacy bottle.” And, sometimes, just like one character who feels “blessed as he noticed something both beautiful and preposterous, the kind of thing that was only possible in Los Angeles,” we see the darkness and the light of this city, the magic, come alive in print and we feel grateful, too. This could definitely be one of those essential Skylight Books books.

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Neon Green Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939419712
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - July 26th, 2016

This is a stirring book that unfolds into something darker and more personal than what it might seem at first and then flowers itself into something bigger, larger, tied to the world and its problems. I found myself laughing, angry at the characters, afraid for them, caring about them, and crying with them. The environment, the earth, our connections with others and with the universe, our private concerns and our common bonds are all up for discussion here. An amazing debut novel!       

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Long Time, No See Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780670023608
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Viking Books - July 5th, 2012

Set in a modern-day coastal village in rural Ireland and told mostly in dialogue— but through the eyes of a young man in between high school and college—but more accurately a young man who is waiting, who is in limbo, a young man who has experienced something hard and who can't move on yet. For now, he works odd jobs, lives with his ma and da, is building a wall, collecting lobsters from the traps, mowing lawns, talking to his sort-of girlfriend (is she? isn’t she?), remarking on what the storms have brought in ashore or uncovered. More importantly, he becomes friend and caretaker to two old men—one a fiery neighbor called the Blackbird and one his granduncle, Joejoe. What do these men do? Talk, drink, fight, remember. As he, Philip, comes closer perhaps to the cusp of a new and different life, to something that’s looming out there, to moving out of his limbo, they, the old men (reminders of what he could/will become?), move closer to the cusp of death.

The lack of a snappy plot, or what some might perceive as a lack of "hard drama," might frustrate some readers—but that sprinkling of fairy dust: the picaresque cast of characters (roustabouts, rogues, misfits, ex-opera singers, hippies, Lithuanian and Polish émigrés, eccentric artists, the German land owner, Japanese bird watcher, kids about town, etc.) coming through—the music, art, and life and the way it all fits in together—will delight others.

In that way it reminds me most of Cannery Row or Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. Halfway between maybe a picaresque novel and a bildungsroman: And maybe that’s where some of the inner tension of the novel exists, and what might make it different than many other novels I’ve read: Things happen, amazing things, every damn day and night, and they are acutely observed—the winds gust, the seasons change, the earth changes, there are fights, music, parties, wakes, work, food, etc.—but the characters aren’t really seen to develop or change in response. I don’t know if anyone really “comes of age”—even though it’s partly the story of the young man. Instead, there are episodes, many many amazing episodes, and, over all that, a meditation.

And that's what it became to me. It filled up a space in my life as I read it each evening before bed and in the morning when I woke up—a meditation: a meditation on this book, a meditation on larger life, and maybe just an act of meditating itself—cool brain waves saying: this is being, this is being, this is being—a kind of mantra—the reading and the writing, the story itself: all a meditation. And if it ends up suiting your fancy, your temperament, whatever, if you make it through, back to the end, it does leave you with something—the kind of thing that sticks to your ribs: a very salty seaside humor, and maybe some salty tears, something both time and place-bound and yet something surrounded by the eternal, something both earthy and poetic, funny and sad: all sides of an embrace of everyday life.

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Wunderkind Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451616910
Availability: Special Order
Published: Free Press - September 6th, 2011

Nikolai Grozni’s brilliantly cynical main character, Konstantin, is a 15-year old piano prodigy at the Sofia Music School for the Gifted. He struggles—what with his sensitive soul and tough exterior—between escapism and the grinding grayness of the totalitarian state in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The book is full of humor and grace and has some of the best writing ever about the (possible) transcendent power of music. It shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Little Owl's Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670012954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2011

Such a gorgeous book. All about the night. Perfect for bedtime!

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Arlo Goes to the Dentist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780578095158
Availability: Special Order
Published: Karisa Lowe - October 1st, 2011

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Arlo Needs Glasses Cover Image
ISBN: 9780761168799
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Workman Publishing Company - May 22nd, 2012