Today, take a stroll with Brandon Shimoda over to Fiction Land, where he’s sure you’ll find Elisabeth Benjamin’s The Houses (Catenary Press) just what your little enjambed hearts have been craving.
Composed of eight stories written for eight friends -- eight stories composing eight distinct houses -- eight houses built for eight friends -- each house constituting an environment, each furnished with a world of acute movement and personified wonder, of dilemma and deeply attended perception -- Elisabeth Benjamin's The Houses, published by the Catenary Press, in 2009, constitutes the simultaneously joyful and arresting awareness that we each live our lives sentence-by-sentence, one perception to the next, and often barely and just bearably held together by the faith of our friends, and the imaginative possibilities our friends project onto us, from within distances both real and abstract, that we might occasionally ravel (read, write, speak and live) ourselves into. Benjamin is a creator of extraordinary fiction, living on the eastern edge of Maine; the Catenary Press is a micro-press devoted to the presentation of serial work, currently housed in Iowa. The Houses is a series of quiet and defiantly essential acts of generosity. It is a deceptively small fold that, once opened and entered, reveals the private space we compose for ourselves as surprisingly, necessarily communal, and infinite.