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This work of literary non-fiction is comprised of alternating chapters between the two authors. Browning’s chapters take the form of personal correspondence to her co-author, while Régnier’s take the form of seemingly internal, contemplative essays, drawing on his prior journal entries, songs, and photographs. The distinction, however, between second and third-person address is perhaps illusory, as the work goes on to illustrate the ways in which personal correspondence and contemplative writing bleed into one another.
Chapters follow the chronology of a period of several months which the authors spent together in seclusion in a country house in Normandy. Browning, the confirmed New Yorker, adapts to Régnier’s “decompositional” methods in the countryside. Decomposition here refers not only to his penchant for nurturing toads and salamanders in the pond muck he’s placed in small glass terrariums in their house. It also refers to his writerly methods. Over the period of their collaboration, they not only adapt to each other’s languages, cultures, and histories. They also begin to sort out their approaches to the questions of eroticism and mortality.
Publishing date: August 7, 2022
Paperback: 252 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 0.58 x 9 inches
Barbara Browning has published three novels: The Correspondence Artist (Two Dollar Radio, 2011), winner of the Lambda Literary Award; I’m Trying to Reach You (Two Dollar Radio, 2012), short-listed for The Believer Book Award; and The Gift (or, Techniques of the Body) (Emily Books/Coffee House Press, 2017), winner of the Lambda Literary Award. She has also published three academic books. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University and teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at NYU.
Sébastien Régnier is a singer-songwriter and screenwriter. His film credits include L’Histoire d’une mère (2016), Martha Martha (2001), and Kabloonak (1994), winner of the French Grand Prix for Best Screenplay. With Barbara Browning, he published a work of autofiction, Who the Hell is Imre Lodbrog? (Outpost19, 2018).