Litstack Recs | Current WTAW Press Titles & Other Americans

by Lauren Alwan

Current WTAW Press Titles

WTAW Press has two great 2019 titles, Chimerica, the debut novel from Anita Fellicelli, and Like Water and Other Stories, the English-language debut of Olga Zilberbourg. And both are available as Ebooks.

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In Chimerica, by Anita Felicelli (Love Songs of a Lost Continent), down-on-her-luck Tamil American trial lawyer Maya Ramesh fights to save a painted lemur come to life and becomes a champion for them both. In magic realist tradition, the novel unearths the inherent absurdities that drive systems of culture, power, and law. WTAW Press, an independent nonprofit publisher located in Northern California, says of the novel, “Fans of Marquez, Kelly Link, and Helen Oyeyemi will find CHIMERICA a spirited investigation of the ways in which art is codified and commodified. Traveling from Oakland, California, to a Malagasy rainforest, CHIMERICA is a contemporary, philosophical novel about art, originality, and American culture.”

Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude) calls Chimerica “a coolly surrealist legal thriller—in turns sly, absurd, emotionally vivid, and satirically incisive—that shifts the reader into a world just adjacent to our own.”

Chimerica is an engaging, faceted novel, with explorations of art and myth (such as the origins of the lost continent of Lemuria), as well as an exploration of character, and as the publisher notes, “the inherent absurdities that drive systems of culture, power, and law.”

Anita Felicelli is the author of the story collection Love Songs for a Lost Continent (Stillhouse Press), which won the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Her fiction has appeared in The Normal School, Joyland, The Rumpus, and her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, SF Chronicle, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Electric Literature. She graduated from UC Berkeley and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and an alum of Voices of Our Nations. She was born in South India and grew up in the Bay Area, where she currently lives with her spouse and three children.

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With settings that range from the Cuban Missile Crisis and Soviet-era Perestroika to present-day San Francisco, Like Water and Other Stories, the first English-language collection from Leningrad-born Olga Zilberbourg, looks at family and childrearing in ways both unsettling and tender, and characters who grapple with complicated legacies—of state, parentage, displacement, and identity. Like Water is a unique portrayal of motherhood, of immigration and adaptation, and an inside account of life in the Soviet Union and its dissolution. Zilberbourg’s stories investigate how motherhood reshapes the sense of self—and in ways that are often bewildering—against an uncharted landscape of American culture.

The collection collects fifty-two stories, some as brief as a single line, and has earned high praise from Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, The Tsar of Love and Techno), who says, “Like Water is a book of succinct abundance, dazzling in its particulars, expansive in its scope. . . She writes of Russia and America, parenthood and aging, history, and identity. Throughout, she peels back the timelessness from the old verities and offers them newly made, freshly observed, gathered in this collection of wonders.”

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Olga Zilberbourg, author of
Like Water and Other Stories

Olga Ziberbourg is the author of three Russian-language collections of stories, the latest of which was published in Moscow in 2016. Her English-language fiction has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Narrative Magazine, World Literature Today, Confrontation, Feminist Studies, Tin House’s The Open Bar, Epiphany, Santa Monica Review, and other print and online publications. Her criticism has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Common, and Electric Literature. Born in Leningrad, USSR, she came of age during her country’s disintegration, and became one of the first in a wave of post-Soviet youth to study abroad and in the United States. Currently, she makes her home in San Francisco with her husband and two children, where she serves as a co-facilitator of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

WTAW Press is an independent, nonprofit publisher based in Northern California.

—Lauren Alwan

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