Gretchen Henderson’s exuberantly innovative and moving second novel interweaves stories, characters, physical and emotional terrains.
Taking its title by playing on a painting ("The Street Enters the House") by Umberto Boccioni, The House Enters the Street combines modern art, medieval music, and a complex interweaving of characters, landscapes, and experiences to create a novel like no other. Scandinavian immigrants in Iowa migrate towards war. A photographer in Arkansas returns to California to repair her family after a devastating fire. Evoking literature's aural roots, the novel confronts (dis)ability and (dis)ease, breathing life into fragments of a broken modern world, reminding us of the art a novel can be.
"The House Enters the Street is beautifully written, confident, and complex. I was appreciative of its language and intelligence, mindfulness and scope." - Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke.
"A demanding and beautiful book, which tracks an exacting landscape with breathtaking inventiveness." - Mary Gordon, author of The Love of My Youth.
"Gretchen E. Henderson creates a sublime and mysterious music all her own." - Carole Maso, author of The Art Lover.
GRETCHEN E. HENDERSON is the author of the novel, Galerie de Difformité (winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Prize). Her other books include a work of nonfiction, On Marvellous Things Heard, and a poetry chapbook, Wreckage: By Land & By Sea. Gretchen is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT.
The House Enters the Street Kickstarter project is Starcherone's second endeavor in a new type of annual fundraising, where we will look to communities local, national, and international to help support books they would like to see published. We thank you for your support, however it is made. Starcherone is a 501(c)3 nonprofit publisher of innovative literary fiction.
There are many answers to this. First, many people still do read, despite what mainstream media would have us believe, and reading books is now an activity made more available than ever through new technologies. All of Starcherone’s new books come out simultaneously as print and e-books. Second, we believe in the art form of fiction. No other art so conveys the otherwise invisible narrative voices in our minds that drive our daily activities, express our passions and ambitions, and honor the memories of those who have passed from the world but live in our souls, as fiction does. Look around you in a crowd; you see faces, but the inner lives of the people who surround you are invisible. Yet these invisible voices and stories are what make each of us who we are. (In her video, Gretchen Henderson speaks of much this same thing motivating her to write The House Enters the Street.) Fiction, to our minds, is the art form that best conveys this sense of who we are as human beings. But the art of fiction is also in need of replenishment at a time in the United States where entertainment corporations have more or less divested themselves of the responsibility of maintaining the strength of our literary traditions. Minus innovation, an art form becomes moribund and dies. Starcherone works to help keep fiction vital.
Most people assume that the cost of a small press book refers to its printing, but printing is only one part of the equation. Starcherone has been around long enough to realize that if you just pay for the printing of a book, and nothing else, then someone ends up with an attic full of unread books. Books have to be advertised and distributed as well. Nowadays, they have to be converted to e-books as well as for the print marketplace. Prior to a book being printed, a separate, smaller edition is run, to be sent to reviewers; without this step, no one knows about the new book, and it isn’t taken seriously by readers. Starcherone titles are now reviewed in nearly all the major review periodicals that devote serious space to books, including Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Book Forum, Rain Taxi Review of Books, American Book Review, ALA Booklist, Bookslut, and many more. But to do this, we have to spend money on postage, promotional materials, ads in print and online, server space, office supplies, and much more. What we spend very little on is labor; we remain a volunteer-run organization, contracting out much of our graphics, artistic, and editorial work, and doing a lot of it in house, free, for the love of creating new literature.
Starcherone Books is a nonprofit corporation, which means that rather than existing to sell a product for profit, our editorial choices are motivated by a public good – in this case, aesthetics. Starcherone exists to support fiction that takes artistic chances, honors beauty and complexity, and doesn’t pander to readers or employ timeworn formulas. We exist to support fiction as an art form. A high percentage of our authors are unknown or known only to those “in the know,” and none are the kinds of bankable commodities that drive mainstream publishing. We do generate revenue from sales of our books, but lacking major funders or institutional support we need also to raise money through contributions to keep doing what we do. Starcherone Books needs $1,500 to help cover the costs of publishing Gretchen E. Henderson’s The House Enters the Street.
Starcherone publishes 3-4 books a year. One of these is generally the winner of our annual blind-judged contest, which attracts roughly 220 entries a year. The others are chosen from among books that come to us through queries, are selected from among runners-up to our contest, or are solicited from among authors we are aware of – respected, nontraditional authors whose work generally isn’t commercial enough to be represented by agents or sought by the entertainment-oriented book industry. All told, Starcherone sees roughly 350 projects a year from which to choose and publishes roughly 1% of manuscripts offered to us. This is why, although we publish so few books, we have produced the debut book of an author whose work will be featured in the next Norton Introduction to Literature, the debut of another author whose book was a New York Times Top 100 Book of the Year, and a third book which was listed as a Book of the Year from London’s Times Literary Supplement, and the list of our accolades goes on!
Gretchen E. Henderson’s work was unknown to the editors at Starcherone until she wrote us and described her project. It interested us and we requested the manuscript. After three of our readers read it and loved it, moved by its emotional registers and impressed by its artistic intelligence, we chose it to be a Starcherone book. We're very proud to be the press that brings Gretchen's passionate and knowing new novel before the public!