Shining at the Bottom of the Sea
By Stephen Marche
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594489419, 256pp.)
Publication Date: August 2, 2007
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A virtuoso performance from an emerging new literary talent who crafts a vividly drawn history of an imaginary country.
In this stylistic tour de force, Stephen Marche creates the entire culture of a place called Sanjania-its national symbols, political movements, folk heroes, a group of writers dubbed "fictioneers," a national airline called Sanjair, and a rich literary history.
Sanjania is an island nation whose English-speaking citizens draw upon the English, American, Australian, and Canadian literary traditions. This brilliant story is an anthology, taking the reader from the rough and tumble pamphlets of 1870s Sanjania to the burgeoning Sanjanian nationalistic awareness in the 1930s literary journal, The Real Story, to the extraordinary longing of the writings of the Sanjanian Diaspora. These works develop into a Rashomon-like story, introducing us to illustrious Sanjanian figures such as the repentant prostitute Pigeon Blackhat and the magically talented couple Caesar and Endurance.
The result is a vibrant evocation of a country-from the birth pangs of its first settlers and their hardy vernacular to its revolutionary years and all the way to the present-all told in Stephen Marche's innovative and accomplished writing.
Stephen Marche is a novelist and culture columnist. Marche received his Ph.D in Early Modern Drama in 2005 from the University of Toronto. He went on to teach Renaissance Drama at City College in New York. He is the author of two novels � Shining at the Bottom of the Sea (2007) and Raymond and Hannah (2005), which was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award in 2006. His recent non-fiction project, How Shakespeare Changed Everything (2011), uncovers the sometimes hidden influence of Shakespeare in modern culture. He currently writes �A Thousand Words About Our Culture,� a monthly column for Esquire magazine, which was a finalist for the 2011 American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine Award for commentary. Marche also writes a weekly column for the National Post and has written about literature and politics for Salon.com, The New Republic, The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, Maclean�s, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Walrus. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.