January 31, 2011

Evan Lavender-Smith, Guacamole, and Avatar

Evan Lavender-Smith is a good writer, and a good guacamole maker.  Carrie told me about how good Evan's guacamole is, so I asked him for the recipe and he was gracious enough to do that and let me take a look at his new book, Avatar.

The guacamole is pretty easy recipe, especially since avocados are in season right now (30¢ a pop at my local grocery).

4-5 avocados cut in small cubes
.5 onion diced
3 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
juice from .5 lime
kosher salt to taste

Mix ingredients to coat veggies with avocados.

This is a simple easy recipe (took me all of 5 minutes to make), and if you want to spice it up, add some black pepper, and chop a couple of jalapeños into it.

Evan Lavender-Smith's second book, Avatar, isn't as simple as his recipe, but just as good.  The book has gotten some really great reviews so far and I can only agree (here and here).  The book is one long unbroken thought of a person floating through space.  The style reminds me of a cross between Gertrude Stein and Wittgenstein.  The narrator struggles with existence, from the obvious loneliness of space, the loss of tears, hair under eyelids, even language itself is a struggle.  Avatar  is a book about friendship, it's a book about language, it's a book about memory, and a book about life and death.  Every page of Avatar feels like a funeral, a birth, a wedding, and divorce.  I can only agree with Blake Butler: "Lavender-Smith's Avatar at once makes me want to kill myself, and to live."  

This is one of my favorite sections of the book:

the great act of abandonment committed against me by my tears my great old friends gone and my questions my positively hopeless questions had during this period become my only friends my very best friends following the disappearance of my tears following their abandonment of me following my ducts going dry and my inability to cry myself more friends to cry myself more tears I had known my positively hopeless questions as questions for so long and to suddenly accept them as positively hopeless statements was extremely difficult very painful at first as I mourned as I grieved the loss of their questioning nature as I mourned the loss of my old friends I say of my questions I think to say of my questions they were good friends they were good companions
 Avatar comes out on tomorrow from Six Gallery Press (get it from Amazon and SPD).

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