Excerpt from Jodorosky's The Son of Black Thursday

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Excerpt from Jodorosky's The Son of Black Thursday

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In celebration of Indies First and Small Business Saturday, we're delighted to share a free exclusive first look at the great Alejandro Jodorowsky's novel, The Son of Black Thursday. It's the follow-up to his psychomagical autobiographical magnum opus, Where the Bird Sings Best.

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As in Where the Bird Sings Best, this novel returns to Jodorowsky's roots in the desolate Chile of the 1930s to offer us, with all the strength of his brazen humour, a delirious gallery of characters. The novel covers the first eleven years of the author's life - from 1928 to 1939 - and chronicles the fates of his father (obsessed with assassinating a dictator who he ends up serving), his mother (a kind of two meter tall angel), his grandparents (Ukrainian Jews who come to Chile escaping persecution) and of his twin sister (who is made to suck a dummy until she is ten in order to silence her delirious speeches), among other picturesque creatures. In the background lie the misery and oppression of the copper mines and nitrate fields of the Chilean desert.

Once again, Jodorowsky demonstrates his capacity for creating a strange concoction of mysticism  and humour - that wise humour of the Jew who suffers while laughing at his own suffering -, which makes every last detail of the inimitable knot of human vicissitudes woven into this novel completely irresistible.

 

Praise for Where the Bird Sings Best

"Where the Bird Sings Best is Alejandro Jodorowsky's brilliant, mad and unpredictable semi-autobiographical novel. Translated by Alfred MacAdam, this multigenerational chronicle introduces a host of memorable characters, from a dwarf prostitute and a floating ghost-Rabbi to a lion tamer who eats raw meat and teaches his beasts to jump through flaming hoops. Fantastical elements aside, Where the Bird Sings Best is a fiercely original immigration tale that culminates in the author's birth in Chile in 1929 — a complicated time in that nation's history. Combine that with poetry, tarot and Jewish mysticism and you have a genius's surreal vision brought to life.”

NPR Books, Best Books of 2015

“Wildly inventive.… Jodorowsky’s masterpiece swirls around the reader, lurching from violent episode to mystical encounter to cosmic sexual escapade as we follow our narrator’s grandparents’ journey from the old world to, refreshingly, South America. As the drama unfolds, the reader’s response veers from incredulity to awe, from doubt to delight. The momentum holds for the length of the novel as a cavalcade of outsized characters careen across the page in a frenzy that seems for once an adequate and just representation of the living fury that is history.… The images possess an extreme yet striking beauty.… In the case of Where the Bird Sings Best, he has masterminded a success.”

The Los Angeles Review of Books

“This epic family saga, reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in structure and breadth, reads at a breakneck pace. Though ostensibly a novelization of the author's own family history, it is a raucous carnival of the surreal, mystical, and grotesque....It weaves together Jewish philosophy, passion, humor, Tarot, ballet, circuses, natural disasters, spectacular suicides, lion tamers, knife throwers, Catholic devotion, farmers, betrayals, prostitutes, leftist politics, political violence, and the ghost of a wise rabbi who follows the family from the Old World to the New.”

Publishers Weekly

“First, a hard-boiled fact: No one alive today, anywhere, has been able to demonstrate the sheer possibilities of artistic invention — and in so many disciplines — as powerfully as Alejandro Jodorowsky.… His new semi-autobiographical novel Where the Bird Sings Best, translated by Alfred MacAdam, is his magnum opus, a fantastical something that in many ways mirrors the author himself: It is brilliant, mad, unpredictable.… It's not difficult to see why Where the Bird Sings Best has been compared to Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. But Jodorowsky's saga stands firmly on its own…. Reading Jodorowsky is not suspending reality; it is allowing yourself to believe that with imagination, anything and everything is in the realm of possibility.… You can't be certain as to what exactly Jodorowsky is channeling in Where the Bird Sings Best — but it doesn't feel like it's native to our universe. Still, in this absurd and glorious carnival, he is the only one worthy to be called the keeper or tamer of anything.”

Juan Vidal, NPR Books

"Jodorowsky is today’s true Renaissance man—a master of many mediums that all point directly towards a towering and imaginative vision replete with profound insights into the real by way of the surreal. The stories told in Where the Bird Sings Best contain deep moral lessons, giving his mythic immigration story the feel of a modern day Sefer-ha-Aggadah—the classic collection of Jewish folk tales drawn from the Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud. This long awaited and brilliantly evocative translation is a must read—frightening, hilarious, outrageous, touching, and (as is always with Jodorowsky’s work) filled with a deep core of mystic truth."

—John Zorn

 

About the Author

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Tocopilla, Chile. From an early age, he became interested in mime and theater; at the age of twenty-three, he left for Paris to pursue the arts, and has lived there ever since. A friend and companion of Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor, he founded the Panic movement and has directed several classic films of this style, including The Holy MountainEl Topo, and Santa Sangre. A mime artist, specialist in the art of tarot, and prolific author, he has written novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and over thirty successful comic books, working with such highly regarded comic book artists as Moebius and Bess. Restless Books will be publishing three of Jodorowsky's best-known books for the first time in English: Donde mejor canta un pájaro (Where the Bird Sings Best), El niño del jueves negro (The Son of Black Thursday), and Albina y los hombres perro (Albina and the Dog Men).

 

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