Renowned internationally for her lyrically unsettling novels, PEN/Faulkner Award winner Chloe Aridjis now offers readers her first collection of shorter works, with an introduction by Tom McCarthy
Chloe Aridjis’s stories and essays are known to transport readers into liminal, often dreamlike, realms. In this collection of works, we meet a woman guided only by a plastic bag drifting through the streets of Berlin who discovers a nonsense-named bar that is home to papier-mâché monsters and one glass-encased somnambulist. Floating through space, cosmonauts are confronted not only with wonder and astonishment, but tedium and solitude. And in Mexico City, stray dogs animate public spaces, “infusing them with a noble life force.” In her pen portraits, Aridjis turns her eye to expats and outsiders, including artists and writers such as Leonora Carrington, Mavis Gallant, and Beatrice Hastings.
Exploring the complexity of exile and urban alienation, Dialogue with a Somnambulist showcases “the rare writer who reinvents herself in each book” (Garth Greenwell) and who is as imaginatively at home in the short form as in her longer fiction.
About the Author
CHLOE ARIDJIS is a Mexican American writer based in London. She is the author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Chloe has written for various art journals and was guest curator of the Leonora Carrington exhibition at Tate Liverpool. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014 and the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writers Award for 2020. Chloe is a founding member of XR Writers Rebel, a group of writers who focus on addressing biodiversity loss and the climate emergency: www.writersrebel.com
"A book full of sublime treasures from one of our boldest writers." —Deborah Levy, author of Real Estate
"Exquisite dreamworks that exert alternative logics and make a compelling case for the idea that we are born into fantasy and only gradually acquire a sense of a much narrower and more rational reality." —Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond
"Chloe Aridjis’s stories and essays are beguiling, her language fresh, her bright mind refreshing. She joins fantasies with realities, to startle the senses, to unite what seems unlikely—a mother eating sea monkeys, a son who can’t leave his house. With elan, she investigates life’s profound and peculiar mysteries. Reading Dialogue with a Somnambulist, one page after another, entranced, I was filled with admiration and love for this daring, excellent writer." —Lynne Tillman, author of MOTHERCARE
"Aridjis fuses the explosive restlessness of pop culture with the elegance of highbrow restraint to create new and subversive cultural forms. Hybrid currents collide and coalesce in bizarre refractions of expressionist horror film, surrealist painting, Mexican wrestling, insomnia, hypnotism, dwarfs and even some of the comic book novelties that sprang from the fetid business brain of mail order millionaire Harold Braunhut. This isn’t just literary slippage, it’s a landslide of subtle laughs and extraordinary artistic innovation." —Stewart Home