By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Ken Kalfus & Mark Z. Danielewski
In Kalfus's A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, Marshall and Joyce are going through a typical New York divorce, separated but still living together. One morning he arrives late to work at the World Trade Center, while she is scheduled to depart Newark on United flight 93. After narrowly avoiding disaster, each is secretly gleeful at the thought their other, bitter half has not been so lucky. Kalfus's tart black comedy follows this supremely selfish couple as they wage ferocious small-scale war through post9-11 New York. Danielewski, author of the spooky-haunted- mansion novel House of Leaves, will read from his new mind-bender Only Revolutions. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th, 212-505-3360 K.S.
Fragile Things, master fantasist Gaiman's latest gathering of poetry and prose, takes us through the apocalypse, hell, and then back to reality for another go. As Gaiman's imagination sprawls and swells, we sympathize with his helpless cameraman in "The Day the Saucers Came," who "could not get far enough away" to record the scale and confluence of such supernatural calamity. Fashion Institute of Technology, Great Hall, 227 W 27th, 212-217-7717 M.M.
The stories in Boudinot's first collection, The Littlest Hitler, combine wide-eyed innocence with streaks of perversity. In "Blood Relations" a family prepares its Wednesday-night "fancy meal"; on the menu is Carl, the goalie on the local kids' soccer team. Davy, the title story's nine-year-old protag, sees nothing wrong with going to school dressed as a pint-size Adolf on Halloween, until he sees classmate Lisette done up as Anne Frankand quickly discovers the horror of being a middle school outcast. Barnes & Noble, 4 Astor Place, 212-420-1322 K.S.
The introduction to Elliott's slender new collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up begins: "This could have been a memoir. It isn't." The decision to label it fiction is only a "poor marketing choice." As if the ensuing tales of strippers, drug users, and sadomasochists weren't brutal enough, now we know it's all true. Elliott, author of the 2004 VLS Favorite Happy Baby, reads with Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. The Strand, 828 Bway, 212-473-1452 K.S.
Wisdom and dexterity are on display in Atwood's first collection of stories in 15 years. The title story, "The Bad News," explores the dread and arrival of unfortunate tidings across the ages. The good news is that even the vaguely foreboding receives vivid description: "the bad news as a huge bird, with the wings of a crow and the face of my Grade Four schoolteacher . . . rancid teeth, wrinkly frown . . . carrying a basket of rotten eggs." Barnes and Noble Union Square, 33 E 17th, 212-253-0810 M.M.
Between the recipes (Zucchini Fritters and Gourmet Rabbit snacks) and the nonstop shtick, Sedaris's guide to entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, contains practical advice for novice and professional hosts alike: Keep a party log to record past successes and failures. That way you'll remember "if he likes capers or raisins, prefers pickles to cucumbers, or has allergies to kelp, figs, or poisonous mushrooms." Get a taste of Sedaris-style hospitality as each audience member receives a cupcake made from her own recipe. Symphony Space, 2537 Bway, 212-864-1414 M.M.
'Up Is Up, But So Is Down'
The writing collected in Up Is Up documents the "Downtown Literary Scene" that spawned concurrently with punk and flourished through the '80s and early '90s alongside the art boom in Soho. Edited by Voice contributor Brandon Stosuy, the book gathers poetry, stories, flyers, and photos from the decades. Original scensters Lynne Tillman and Bob Holman will be on hand to keep the wild party going. Lower East Side Tenement Museum, 108 Orchard, 212-431-0233 K.S.
***Correction: The original version of this article had a wrong date for this event. The date has been fixed.