The Deep Zoo
The Deep Zoo is how I describe the rich powers of the imagination that dwell within each of us. Together we will focus on the ways in which the dogmatisms that undermine the creative process can be subverted and overcome. Our purpose is to fully engage an ongoing practice of rigorous and fearless writing. A craft talk will be followed by exercises and discussion.
The author of eight novels as well as collections of short fiction, essays, and poetry, Rikki Ducornet has twice been honored by the Lannan Foundation. She received the Bard College Arts and Letters award and, in 2008, an Academy Award in Literature. Her fourth novel, The Jade Cabinet, was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition was named a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, and the French translation of her novel Gazelle was honored with a Prix Guerlain.
Her most recent novel, Netsuke (May 2011) was published by Coffee House Press and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and praise from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Seattle Times. Ducornet makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.
Ducornet is also a visual artist who exhibits internationally. She has illustrated books by Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Coover, Forest Gander, Kate Bernheimer, Joanna Howard and Anne Waldman, among others.
“Ducornet is a novelist of ambition and scope. One is grateful for what she’s accomplished here.”—The New York Times
“Judging by her new novel, [Ducornet] has not lost ground. . . . Netsuke, a short novel that seethes with dark energy and sinister eroticism, still has power to shock, maybe even to appall. . . . Our society is numb to explicit depictions of sexual acts. The perversity, decadence, even the depravity that Ducornet renders here feel explosively fresh because their sources are thought and emotion, not the body, and finally there’s pathos too.”—The Boston Globe
“’When the very air of one’s marriage grows thin and dim, there is nothing to do but set out to find a richer, brighter air,’ ponders the narrator of Port Townsend author Rikki Ducornet’s brief, fervent novel Netsuke. . . . Written in lyrical, sensuous prose, as if shrouded in a fog of humidity, Netsuke emerges as a character study of a man in crisis.” —The Seattle Times
“Sex and psychosis are indistinguishable in this killer new novel from Ducornet. . . . [A]s fascinating as it is dirty and dark, . . . the plot is impossible to resist.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Pick up a book by the award-winning Ducornet, and you know it will be startling, elegant, and perfectly formed—like netsuke, those miniature Japanese sculptures used to fasten the cord of a kimono. This latest, an unflinching meditation on the twinned drives of lust and destruction, is no exception. . . . Writing about a satyr-psychiatrist could be so predictable, but Ducornet makes her characters real and scary beneath the ruminative, quietly observant prose. Highly recommended for literate readers.” —Library Journal
“An enticing, fast-moving exploration of one man’s obsession with his calculated power and unhinged desires.” —Booklist