Joynes Event: Paul La Farge

Wed, November 28, 2012 | Joynes Reading Room (the Joynes Suite is accessed through the Honors Quad, the door is on the east side of Carothers)

7:00 PM

Joynes Event:  Paul La Farge

A graduate of Yale, Paul La Farge has taught writing at Wesleyan University, is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has was selected as artist-in-residence at artists' colonies MacDowell and Yaddo. He has also taught writing at Columbia and was the 2005 winner of the fourth annual Bard Fiction Prize bestowed by Bard College, where he is on the MFA faculty.

His most recent work , Luminous Airplanes is both a novel and a hypertext.  It's a novel of fewer than 250 pages of words on paper but quite a bit more than that on a website specially designed to extend the story, with new chapters to be added over a year's time period. Once finished, the site will contain a work “about three times larger than the book,” according to Mr. La Farge.  See

La Farge's first novel, The Artist of the Missing, illustrated with surrealist images by cubist artist Stephen Alcorn, takes place in an anonymous, modern-day city in which people go missing on a regular basis. Frank, the titular character, paints portraits of the missing, among whom are his parents, his brother James and, eventually, even his romantic interest, enigmatic police photographer Prudence, whose job it was to take pictures of corpses. Reviewers compared the debut work to those of Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges and categorized him among "literary wizards" and "fantasists".

Two years later, his second novel, Haussmann, or the Distinction purports to peel layers from the mysterious private life of Baron Georges Eugène Haussmann (1809–1891), the flawed genius city planner who, in the 1860s, masterminded the carving up of Parisian streets into modern boulevards, of which the Champs-Élysées is the most renowned example. 

The Facts of Winter is a series of dreams, all dreamed by people in and around Paris during the winter of 1881, which is to say that it is a fictional account of the imaginary lives of people who may or may not be real, and who in any case lived a quarter of a century before the book was written, in 1904.

Sign up for Twitter to follow Paul La Farge (@poissel). "Making the obscurity a little lighter since 1994."


This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by: The Mary Lu Joynes endowment in the Plan II Honors Program

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