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Fall 2020

ZONE BOOKS

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New in Tourniquet Review
A Reader’s Diary: Anthropophagite Piety

During a recent jaunt through a used bookstore, Barry Scwabsky stumbles upon a copy of Pierre Clastres’s Chronicle of the Guyaki Indians, translated by Paul Auster. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read Schwabsky’s thoughts in Tourniquet Review. An excerpt appears below:

“Advice for those who haunt used bookstores: any time you see something that’s been published by Black Sparrow Press or North Point Press, buy it. A Quartet Encounters paperback? Just buy it. There are some presses, just a few, who seem to have been unable to release anything uninteresting. For a long time, Zone Books was one of them. It’s still excellent, don’t get me wrong, but its great years were the decade or two following its foundation around 1985. So of course I had to buy Pierre Clastres’s Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians, which in any case I vaguely remembered as a reference in Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. But in truth what really piqued my curiosity was the name of the book’s translator: the renowned novelist Paul Auster. I won’t recount the story, conveyed in Auster’s introductory note, of how he came to translate the book and the strange fate of that translation, except to say that it reads like a work of Auster’s fiction (except for the opening line, which reads, jarringly and misleadingly, like one by Ford Madox Ford). Books of anthropology are always engaging thanks to the way their accounts of other people’s ways of life throw into relief the strangeness and arbitrariness of our own customs. That may be even more true than usual of Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians—whose bland title becomes more disconcerting as one reads, since Clastres quickly stops referring to the hunter-gatherers among whom he lived in 1963-64 in eastern Paraguay as Guayaki and instead, without explanation, calls them Atchei.”