Burial
by Claire Donato

Novel. 104 pages. Paperback. 2013
Publishers Weekly Starred Review & “Best Summer Reads 2013”

Cover art: Patte Loper, “The Sky is Burning, the Sea Aflame”

Set in the mind of a narrator who is grieving the loss of her father, who conflates her hotel room with the morgue, and who encounters characters that may not exist, Burial is a little novel about an immeasurable black hole. Like a 21st century Lispector, Donato grapples with ontology and trades plot for ambience; the result is an elegy in prose at once lyrical and intelligent, with no small amount of rot and vomit and ghosts.

Burial
by Claire Donato

Novel. 104 pages. Paperback. 2013
Publishers Weekly Starred Review & “Best Summer Reads 2013”

Cover art: Patte Loper, “The Sky is Burning, the Sea Aflame”

Set in the mind of a narrator who is grieving the loss of her father, who conflates her hotel room with the morgue, and who encounters characters that may not exist, Burial is a little novel about an immeasurable black hole. Like a 21st century Lispector, Donato grapples with ontology and trades plot for ambience; the result is an elegy in prose at once lyrical and intelligent, with no small amount of rot and vomit and ghosts.

Donato’s hallucinatory meditation on grief seems like a strange summer read, but her poetic, trance-inducing language turns a reckoning with the confusion of mortality into readerly joy at the sensuality of living. Also, it’s small and fits in most pockets, so you can bring it pretty much everywhere, which I plan on doing and highly recommend. (“Best Summer Reads 2013,” Publishers Weekly, chosen by Alex Crowley) A dark, multivalent, genre-bending book…. Donato has composed with unrelenting, grotesque beauty an exhaustive recursive obsession about the unburiability of the dead, and the incomprehensibility of death. (Starred Review, Publishers WeeklyA harrowing, enlightened first novel. . . . dense, potent language captures that sense of the unreal that, for a time, pulls people in mourning to feel closer to the dead than the living. . . . The language is fractured at times as her thoughts slide between terse poetry and lyricism. . . . An ingenious structure becomes visible below the narrator’s stream of consciousness. . . . Startlingly original and effective. (Matthew Jakubowski, Minneapolis Star-TribuneClaire Donato’s patient, immersive meditation on death and mourning designed in precise urn-like prose, Burial, fledges itself with the poise of Woolf or Loy or Carson; a kind of humming, marbled elegy for the as-yet-extant-alive, and like finding a real river in a dictionary. (Blake Butler) A full and vibrant illustration of the restless turns of a mind undergoing trauma. Language here serves both as escape and as a threat, at once suspect and yet the only consolation. In Burial, Donato makes and unmakes the world with words, and what is left shimmers with pain and delight. (Brian Evenson) Claire Donato’s assured and poetic debut augurs a promising career. (Benjamin Moser)

Donato’s hallucinatory meditation on grief seems like a strange summer read, but her poetic, trance-inducing language turns a reckoning with the confusion of mortality into readerly joy at the sensuality of living. Also, it’s small and fits in most pockets, so you can bring it pretty much everywhere, which I plan on doing and highly recommend. (“Best Summer Reads 2013,” Publishers Weekly, chosen by Alex Crowley) A dark, multivalent, genre-bending book…. Donato has composed with unrelenting, grotesque beauty an exhaustive recursive obsession about the unburiability of the dead, and the incomprehensibility of death. (Starred Review, Publishers WeeklyA harrowing, enlightened first novel. . . . dense, potent language captures that sense of the unreal that, for a time, pulls people in mourning to feel closer to the dead than the living. . . . The language is fractured at times as her thoughts slide between terse poetry and lyricism. . . . An ingenious structure becomes visible below the narrator’s stream of consciousness. . . . Startlingly original and effective. (Matthew Jakubowski, Minneapolis Star-TribuneClaire Donato’s patient, immersive meditation on death and mourning designed in precise urn-like prose, Burial, fledges itself with the poise of Woolf or Loy or Carson; a kind of humming, marbled elegy for the as-yet-extant-alive, and like finding a real river in a dictionary. (Blake Butler) A full and vibrant illustration of the restless turns of a mind undergoing trauma. Language here serves both as escape and as a threat, at once suspect and yet the only consolation. In Burial, Donato makes and unmakes the world with words, and what is left shimmers with pain and delight. (Brian Evenson) Claire Donato’s assured and poetic debut augurs a promising career. (Benjamin Moser)

About the Author

Claire Donato is the author of the novel Burial, from Tarpaulin Sky Press. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston ReviewEncyclopediaEvening Will ComeLITOctopus, and 1913: a journal of forms. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Someone Else’s Body (Cannibal Books), and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. She teaches at Fordham University in the Bronx and has taught at The New School, Hunter College, and 826 Valencia/NYC. For more information, visit somanytumbleweeds.com.

Claire Donato

Claire Donato is the author of the novel Burial, from Tarpaulin Sky Press. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston ReviewEncyclopediaEvening Will ComeLITOctopus, and 1913: a journal of forms. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Someone Else’s Body (Cannibal Books), and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. She teaches at Fordham University in the Bronx and has taught at The New School, Hunter College, and 826 Valencia/NYC. For more information, visit somanytumbleweeds.com.