Imagine a Death: a novel (Innovative Prose) (Paperback)
In the face of a slow but impending apocalypse, what binds three seemingly divergent lives (a writer, a photographer, an old man), isn’t the commonality of a perceived future death, but the layered and complex fabric of how loss, abuse, trauma, and death have shaped their pasts, and how these pasts continue to haunt their present moments, a moment in which time seems to be running out. The writer, traumatized by the violent death of her mother when she was a child, lives alone with her dog and struggles to finish her book. The photographer, stunted by the death of his grandmother and caretaker, struggles to take a single picture and enters into a complicated relationship with the writer. The old man, facing his past in small doses, spends his time watching television and reorganizing the objects in his apartment to stay distracted from the deterioration around him. A depiction of the cycles of abuse and trauma in a prolonged end-time, Imagine a Death examines the ways in which our pasts envelop us, the ways in which we justify horrible things in the name of survival, all of the horrible and beautiful things we are capable of when we are hurt and broken, and the animal (and plant) companions that ground us.
About the Author
JANICE LEE is a Korean-American writer, editor, publisher, and shamanic healer. She is the author of seven books of fiction, creative nonfiction & poetry. She is Founder & Executive Editor of Entropy, Co-Publisher at Civil Coping Mechanisms, Contributing Editor at Fanzine, and Co-Founder of The Accomplices LLC. She currently lives in Portland, OR where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Portland State University.
“In Janice Lee’s newest work, Imagine a Death, her methodical, dedicated attention illuminates the otherwise impenetrable depths of grief. She invites us to bear witness to The Writer, The Photographer, and The Old Man—each having survived the death of a beloved—as they engage in pathetic but ultimately deeply resonant efforts to shape to their lives. We can recognize a bit of our collective (and increasingly daily) realities in the miasma of their city, plagued by ongoing, impending ecological disasters and regular, arbitrary violences. Through a panoply of animal interpellators, Lee invokes a world that is audaciously savage and catastrophically familiar, and offers an astonishing take on the saga—sung in a Beckettian key. To truly imagine a death requires attending to how we persist after.”
—Juliette Lee, author of Aerial Concave Without Cloud