Nathan Gehoski Reviews November 2012 Bathhouse Events

“So after running around like a crazy person most of yesterday getting ready for the event, I finally got to sit down and enjoy the fruits of 4-6 months of waiting and working and worrying!

We had three readers this semester for our annual Bathhouse Reading Event Series:  Dimitri Anatasopoulos, Camille Roy, and Rachel Levitsky.  Joe Sacksteder co-piloted the event, doing an admirable job introducing our guests and warming up the crowd.

 

 

I started the day early, running to Halle Library to print out signs, pick up posters, and make up an LBC (Learning Beyond the Classroom) sign up sheet.  Then around 2 o’clock I had to scramble to Pray-Harold to pick up a table for the event and finally scoot over to Roosevelt Hall auditorium to begin clean up and prep for the event itself.

 

 

After everyone arrived, we closed the doors, did a little intro, then dove right in to the reading!

 

 

 

The order went Dimitri, Camille, and Rachel.  My favorite was Dimitri for thematic and stylistic reasons.  He read two excerpts from his forthcoming novel Farm for Mutes focusing on one of the main characters “Luther”.

 

In the first section Luther is at work restoring various devices/media which are dropped off with mysterious notes.  Detailed descriptions of each “project” created a confined narrative setting, culminating with a cage like device that nips at Luther’s fingers leaving a taste of “blood and rust” in his mouth.

 

The second section is about Luther at home with his dogs, a pair of German Shepard’s handpicked from a litter of six by Luther himself using a VERY selective method (I won’t spoil it!).  Here again, Dimitri made use of strong, detailed orientated prose to create a space for the text to constrict itself around themes ranging from relationships to protesters in Greece and community dogs (“called ‘sausages’ suggesting their ultimate fate”).

 

Control.  An obsessive fixation on order.  The desire to “restore” cohesion.  These are all themes, justified or not, that I took away from the work.  Luther is a creature of habit whose compulsion to dominate leads to an idiosyncratic loss of control as he is incapable of envisioning a world without “order”.

 

This notion of control as a fictive illusion or surface of deluded self torture (and the character of Luther DOES feel tortured at times) is something which informs my own work and is part and parcel  of the strong reaction I had to the piece.”