Evan Dara

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Evan Dara
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genre Literary Fiction
Literary movement Postmodernism
Notable works The Lost Scrapbook (1995)
The Easy Chain (2008)
Flee (2013)
Provisional Biography of Mose Eakins (2013)
Website
aurora148.com/index.php

Evan Dara is an American novelist. He has published three novels, which are concerned with subjects including social atomization, music, political dysfunction, epistemology, ecology, and time. The Times Literary Supplement (London) called Dara "one of the most exciting American novelists writing today."[1]

Widely believed to be using a pseudonym, Dara has given no interviews and has issued no photographs, and has chosen to publish his novels through his own press, Aurora. His work has been almost totally unacknowledged by the commercial American literary community—Australian critic Emmett Stinson has called Dara "the best-kept secret in all of contemporary American literature"—but he has received exceptional acclaim from underground and alternative sites.[2][3][4][5][6] His books have been the subject of numerous scholarly articles and theses, and have been taught in dozens of colleges and universities across the world.

This includes a course in Madrid called "In Search of the Great American Novel," where Dara's work was read alongside that of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Toni Morrison.[7] The only other writer of Dara's generation to be included in this survey was David Foster Wallace.[8]

In 1995, his first novel, The Lost Scrapbook, won the 12th Annual FC2 Illinois State University National Fiction Competition judged by William T. Vollmann.[9] Dara's second novel, The Easy Chain, was published by Aurora Publishers in 2008. A third novel, Flee, was published by Aurora in 2013.

On July 26, 2018, Dara released his first play, titled Provisional Biography of Mose Eakins. The play was only offered in eBook form (ePub, Mobi, and PDF), and the publisher stipulated that readers should download it for free and only make a donation after they finish it.

Anonymity[edit]

As opposed to other reclusive American writers such as J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, and Harper Lee, nothing is known about Dara's background or the reasons why he writes under a pseudonym. And unlike the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante, Dara has never given an interview or commented on his books. However, he has responded on separate occasions about the influence of William Gaddis on his style. In an indirect reply to a query from the critic Tom LeClair—in which he confirmed that he uses a pseudonym—Dara denied having read either The Recognitions or J R.[10] In 2014, the critic Steven Moore followed up on this question:

“Asked about Gaddis’s possible influence, Dara told me that while working on The Lost Scrapbook he heard that J R was a novel in dialogue and checked it out from The American Library in Paris: ‘Took the novel home, plunked it open, tapped it shut — didn’t want the influence’ (email January 19, 2014).”[11]

Writing[edit]

The first edition of The Lost Scrapbook was published in 1995 by Fiction Collective Two, or FC2, which was then based at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. The manuscript was originally brought to the publisher's attention by novelist Richard Powers, who described how he received it:

“Several kilos of transatlantic, boat-rate typescript arrived on my stoop without prior warning of contents, and I’ve been grateful ever since. Dara shows how a novel can be experimental, yet moral, rule breaking but emotional, and post-humanist while still remaining deeply human. This scrapbook builds in stretches until the whole police blotter cum family album lies open in aerial view. Monumental, unforgiving, cunning and heartfelt, it lets no one off the hook, least of all the reader.”[12][13]

The mystery surrounding Dara combined with the fact that Powers very rarely provides blurbs led some to speculate that Powers might be the man behind the nom de plume.[14] Nonetheless, despite very little press coverage and limited publicity, the book has been taught at over 25 universities and been the subject of significant scholarly inquiry.

In 2008, Dara released The Easy Chain through Aurora Publishers, a venture he founded along with another partner.[15] He followed this up with Flee, which was published by Aurora in 2013.

Translations[edit]

A Spanish translation of Dara's The Lost Scrapbook was published by Pálido Fuego in 2015, entitled El Cuaderno Perdido.[16] Estado Critico recognized it with the Best Translation Award of 2015.[17]

The translator of the novel, José Luis Amores, noted in a 2017 interview that he is at work on translations of The Easy Chain and Flee.[18]

Works[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • Winner of 12th Annual FC2 National Fiction Competition[19]
  • Estado Critico: Best Translation Award of 2015[20]

Further reading[edit]

  • Burn, S.J. (2009) "Economies of the Self: Review of Evan Dara's The Easy Chain." American Book Review, 30(4), p. 18.[21]
  • Green, Jeremy (2005). Late Postmodernism: American Fiction at the Millennium. Palgrave.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick (2010). The American Novel Now: Reading Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980. Wiley-Blackwell.[22]
  • Saladrigas, R. (2017). En tierras de ficción: Recorrido por la narrativa contemporanea, de Edgar Allan Poe a Evan Dara. Palencia (España: Menoscuarto).[23]
  • Stinson, E. (2017). Satirizing modernism: Aesthetic autonomy, romanticism, and the avant-garde. Bloomsbury Academic.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suburbscapes of the disappeared – TheTLS". www.the-tls.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  2. ^ "21 Books That Will Enrich Your Summer". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  3. ^ "The Easy Chain by Evan Dara | Quarterly Conversation". quarterlyconversation.com. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  4. ^ "inchoatia: Evan Dara, The Lost Scrapbook (1995)". inchoatia.blogspot.nl. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  5. ^ "The Lost Scrapbook, Evan Dara". Eco-Fiction. 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  6. ^ Stinson, Emmett (2011-05-11). "Book Review: The Easy Chain". Known Unknowns. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  7. ^ "En busca de la gran novela americana. Curso de literatura estadounidense". Libreria La Sombra (in Spanish). 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  8. ^ "[Agenda Canina] Seminario de literatura estadounidensne en La Sombra - Canino". Canino (in Spanish). 2016-02-18. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  9. ^ Poets & Writers, Inc. Grants & Awards 1995 September/October 1998. Accessed September 22, 2006. Archived January 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "MIXED RECEPTIONS". Bookforum. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  11. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "William Gaddis: Expanded Edition". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  12. ^ "praying for a nerve cell with all the soul of my chemical reactions and going right on down where the eye sees only traces". www.blckdgrd.com. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  13. ^ "Steve Russillo's Easy Chain page". russillosm.com. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  14. ^ "Is Richard Powers Evan Dara?". CR. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  15. ^ "MIXED RECEPTIONS". Bookforum. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  16. ^ "El cuaderno perdido – Evan Dara | Pálido Fuego". www.palidofuego.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  17. ^ "Premios EC 2015 | Estado Crítico". www.criticoestado.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  18. ^ Downing, Jeff (2017-02-28). "El Cuaderno Perdido: An Interview with José Luis Amores". The Evan Dara Affinity. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  19. ^ "Title – Rightsdesk Worldwide". www.rightsdesk.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  20. ^ "Premios EC 2015 | Estado Crítico". www.criticoestado.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  21. ^ "Economies of the Self". American Book Review. 30 (4).
  22. ^ "Wiley: The American Novel Now: Reading Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980 - Patrick O'Donnell". www.wiley.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  23. ^ Tigres, Tres Tristes. "Editorial Menoscuarto | www.menoscuarto.es". www.menoscuarto.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  24. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "Satirizing Modernism". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 2017-05-26.

External links[edit]