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By Ben Lerner

Adam Gordon is a superb, if hugely unreliable, younger American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, suffering to set up his experience of self and his dating to paintings. what's real while our studies are mediated by way of language, expertise, medicine, and the humanities? Is poetry an important paintings shape, or in simple terms a monitor for the reader's projections? rather than following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam’s “research” turns into a meditation at the probability of the real within the arts and past: are his relationships with the folk he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? A witness to the 2004 Madrid educate bombings and their aftermath, does he perform old occasions or simply watch them go him by?

In prose that veers among the comedian and tragic, the self-contemptuous and the encouraged, Leaving the Atocha Station is a portrait of the artist as a tender guy in an age of Google searches, prescription drugs, and spectacle.

Born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979, Ben Lerner is the writer of 3 books of poetry The Lichtenberg Figures, perspective of Yaw, and Mean loose Path. He has been a finalist for the nationwide booklet Award and the Northern California publication Award, a Fulbright pupil in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard origin Fellowship. In 2011 he turned the 1st American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. Leaving the Atocha Station is his first novel.

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I went to the Corte Inglés and purchased a costume blouse, a stylish–looking knockoff black swimsuit that they can tailor in the hour, and a couple of Spanish footwear. all of it rate a couple of hundred euros and back I used the cardboard. I went domestic and took a moment bathe, rolled and smoked a spliff, learn the Quixote for it slow, after which wear the swimsuit. whilst Isabel arrived she appeared inspired via my visual appeal; I felt good-looking, no longer, as I had anticipated, ridiculous. After she thought of me for your time, Isabel stated her personal outfits weren’t stylish sufficient; she hadn’t inspiration we have been going anyplace so formal. I acknowledged we have been going to Zalacaín as if I went there for all time and she or he acknowledged she had heard of it yet must pass swap. I informed her there wasn’t time, even supposing there has been, and that she appeared appealing, which she did, yet I stated she regarded attractive with a few condescension, as though I doubted she owned sufficiently based garments. We took a cab and have been early to Zalacaín and Isabel was once visibly underdressed; humans have been looking at the headscarf in her hair and the hostess hesitated prior to soliciting for my identify. Isabel used to be too beautiful for her informal dresses to reason a lot of a scandal, yet I smiled apologetically on the hostess, who smiled again at me as I gave her my identify; i may think Isabel blushing. It became out our desk was once prepared and we have been seated and that i stated to the waiter that my Spanish wasn’t more than enough to reserve so I requested that he simply deliver us regardless of the chef steered, in addition to a bottle of his favourite Spanish white; my demeanour advised I had made this request in numerous eu capitals and languages. while I heard myself ask for a Spanish wine, which, irrespective of how pricey, will be a number of orders of importance more cost-effective than the others, i noticed i used to be no longer totally out of my brain, which intended I should still cease performing as though I have been: i used to be on course to spend extra in a single day than I’d spent within the prior months together with hire, and it all in a way totally obvious to my mom and dad. How might my sick mother and fascist dad reply to such appearing out used to be the shaggy dog story I made to myself; I heard my laughter in my head and it sounded international. Isabel and that i had not anything to assert. She used to be frightened, offended, stressed; she didn’t drink the aperitifs they introduced us on a silver tray. I drank either one of them in a way that communicated i used to be totally ready to make a scene, no matter what scene Isabel may well like. yet nervous she might simply rise up and go away, I requested her as if there have been no stress within the air if she’d needed to give up her activity on the language tuition. She stated she hadn’t and that i learned she’d informed me this already. I instructed her i used to be sorry approximately my insisting on such an abrupt go back from Granada. She acknowledged it used to be nice and requested after my poems, how paintings at the little publication used to be coming. I stated solid, nice actually, that I had by no means written rather a lot, and that i imagined I observed a spark of curiosity in Isabel as she possibly remembered my notes and contemplated the prospect that she used to be, in a single method or one other, occupied with them.

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