Patrik Sampler & Michael Mejia - Salt Lake City
Oct 20, 2018, 7:00 pm
Patrik Sampler & Michael Mejia
The Ocean Container & Tokyo
Salt Lake City
Wasatch Front Region
VenueThe King's English Bookshop
1511 S 1500 E
Salt Lake City , UT 84105-2809
Authors Patrik Sampler and Michael Mejia visit the King's English Bookshop to discuss their new books on Saturday, October 20th at 7:00 PM.
Patrik Sampler's The Ocean Container is the story of an environmental activist in a North American petro-state. Labeled an “economic terrorist”, he takes hiding in a shipping container, in a compound for vagrants and the unemployed. There he meets charity providers, other dissidents in hiding, and a theatrical company attracting tourists with Edo: Pleasure District in the 21st Century (quite possibly a front for prostitution). Contraband exotic species – a tapir and a white peafowl – are set loose as communal pets, and someone with two right eyes seems to be stalking him. Fearful of the outside, the “terrorist” isolates himself inside his container, where the division between imagination and external reality is fatally blurred.
Patrik Sampler‘s writing has appeared in a variety of publications including The Guardian, The Millions, and The Scofield. He is a contributing editor for Peculiar Mormyrid, and author of The Ocean Container, published in 2017 by Ninebark Press. Sampler devoted much of a postgraduate degree to the late-career novels of Abe Kobo.
Michael Mejia's Tokyo is an incisive, shape-shifting tour de force, a genre-bending mix of lyric prose, science fiction, horror, and visual collage exploring the erotic undercurrents of American perceptions of Japanese culture and identity.
By turns noir, surreal, and clinical in its language and style, TOKYO employs metaphors of consumption, disease, theater, gender fluidity, monstrousness, and ecological disaster in intertwined accounts touching on matters of cultural appropriation, fiction's powerful capacity to produce immersive realities, and the culturally corrupting late capitalist excesses that entangle both the United States and Japan.
The novel opens with a fantastic, slyly comic report written by a Japanese executive, describing the anomalous bluefin tuna his company purchased at Tokyo’s iconic fish market, as well as the dissolution of the executive’s marriage to his Japanese-American, or Sansei, wife. But when an American writer—whose own Sansei wife was previously married to a Japanese executive—begins investigating the report’s author and his claims, assisted by a mysterious Japanese correspondent the American suspects may once have been his wife’s lover, identities begin to scramble until it’s uncertain who is imagining who, and who is and isn’t Japanese. Meanwhile, a secret plot to establish pure Japaneseness through the global distribution of genetically engineered bluefin tuna seems to be rushing toward its conclusion like a great wave.
Michael Mejia is the author of the novel Forgetfulness,and his writing has been published in many journals and anthologies. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, he is editor in chief of Western Humanities Review, co-founding editor of Ninebark Press, and a professor of creative writing at the University of Utah.
This event was made possible with support from the King's English Bookshop, Ninebark Press, and Utah Humanities.