THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE
DOUBLEDAY, AUGUST 2017
“An Italian teenage girl shows up in 1990s Southern California in this culturally astute, strong-voiced novel. Barzini, truly a writer to watch, positions herself astride both American and Sicilian cultures, and packs this visceral book with strong sensations from both. The novel and its heroine, Eugenia, are deeply seductive.”
—New York Times
"If you're an Elena Ferrante fan tuck into Things That Happened Before The Earthquake."
“Chiara Barzini writes with a voice that is both tense and open. The effect is surprising, subversive, and singular.”
—Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Interpreter of Maladies
“Chiara Barzini has pulled off that most dazzling balancing act: combining a deliciously entertaining plot with effortlessly elegant prose. She has an extraordinarily keen eye for cultural nuance. Through her alter-ego Eugenia we come to discover a California as wildly foreign to us as it is to her. A brilliant, sexy, and unexpected take on the immigrant bildungsroman.”
—Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go
“Chiara Barzini has written a wild first novel, full of sex, violence, and desperate prayers to the Virgin Mary. This is a brutal and bizarre coming of age story aptly set in one of America’s many crises.”
—Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody is Ever Missing
“Chiara Barzini has the heart and the capacity to tell a story that is bright on the surface and profound on the inside.”
—Francesca Marciano, author of The Other Language
“Tectonic plates collide in this book: a girl lands on this continent with both feet planted in a pair of Reebok Pumps and the bared Italian bust and out-thrust tongue meet the buttoned-up American mind head-on. Our author shows us that there’s an America that’s bigger than the narrow confines this young Italian, our protagonist, confronts at her Los Angeles high school—and she discovers it in the body, in the spirit and in our land itself. Zany, rambunctious and deftly told, in this coming-of-age story the heroine is the earthquake.”
—Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life
“There are sex and drugs aplenty but also sweet, tender moments of first love and self-acceptance. Los Angeles is dirtily yet lovingly depicted… Barzini’s is an impressive debut with a distinct point of view.”
Penguin Random House book page
Purchase book here
News & Reviews:
SISTER STOP BREATHING
Calamari Press, 2012
«These kaleidoscopic arrangements of sentences and situations are of freakish originality and beauty. They are stories like smashed mirrored jewels, which we look into, recognize ourselves and others, then look closely again and realize we're staring at the delicate close markings of a flower. I found these stories to be like life—full of horror and comedy and wonderment for a world that is both grotesque and fantastical.»—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
«The best thing to come out of Italy since espresso, and it opens your eyes and quickens your heart just as fast.»—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
«A Barzini fiction invites you into its strangeness with poetic and comic authority, and ushers you out before you have a chance to know what hit you. The fabular and the contemporary are tantalizingly conflated such that recognizable settings (Rome, California, Paris) open up into wondrous irreal worlds that entice the senses yet ingeniously elude one’s grasp. Whether she steers us through volcanic craters, antiquity’s sewers, or incestuous swimming pools, Barzini’s imagination, precision and wit make the ride worthwhile. Sister Stop Breathing is as inventive as it is provocative.»—Mary Caponegro, author of All Fall Down
Visit official Sister Stop Breathing Page
Download Press Kit
News & Reviews:
5.20.2013: SSB excerpts and short review on Stuart Hammond's Get Lit blog on Dazed & Confused.
1.6.2013: The wonderful SF-based Sidebrow publishes excerpts from Sister Stop Breathing.
12.12.12: Sister Stop Breathing in Blake Butler's All the Books I read in 2012 for Vice Magazine.
10.22.2012: Tim Small of The Milan Review translates some shorties from Sister Stop Breathing for Vice Italy.
5.19.12: Vice Magazine reviews Sister Stop Breathing.
5.15.12: TNB FICTION.
5.6.12: Sister Stop Breathing reviewed in DecomP Magazine.
4.5.12: Sister Stop Breathing is now an abstract literary music compilation on Largehearted Boy.
3.6.12: Awe-inspiring David Tibet from Current 93 "utterly recommends" Sister Stop Breathing on his Coptic Cat website
3.5.12: Giulia Ruberti recommends Sister Stop Breathing in Paris, LA.
3.3.12: THE ESOTERRORIST says Sister Stop Breathing is is a "rare, cohesive work of aberrant originality".
2.15.12: RYAN CHANG FROM ELECTRIC LITERATURE REVIEWS SSB FRANKLIN PARK READING.
2.14.12: VOL. 1 BROOKLYN REVIEWS SSB event.
2.14.12: BRANDON HOBSON REVIEWS SSB FOR THE COLLAGIST.
2.13.12: READING AT FRANKLIN PARK WITH BEN MARCUS, MARTHA SOUTHGATE, KATE ZAMBRENO, AND WILL SNIDER SELECTED AS CRITIC'S PICK IN TIME OUT NEW YORK.
2.10.12 Interview about Sister Stop Breathing with images by Cal. A. Mari by Tommaso Fagioli on Satellite Voices.
2.8.12: DENNIS COOPER HAS RECENTLY "READ AND LOVED" SISTER STOP BREATHING!
2.7.12: SISTER STOP BREATHING REVIEWED IN VOL. 1 BROOKLYN.
1.23.12: THE COFFIN FACTORY says the stories in Sister Stop Breathing are what reading is all about!
1.19.12: FREDERIC TUTEN JOINS JOHN WRAY, EDMUND WHITE, LILY TUCK, JANE SMILEY, JONATHAN SANTLOFER, ROXANA ROBINSON, TOM PIAZZA, ED PARK, BONNIED NADZAM, URSULA K. LE GUIN, DAVI LEAVITT, DAVID EBERSHOFF, LOUIS BEGLEY, JONATHAN FRANZEN, AND JOYCE CAROL OATES IN SELECTING HIS 2012 BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. SISTER STOP BREATHING IS ON HIS LIST AND HERE’S WHY.
1.21.12: VICE MAGAZINE RECOMMENDS NY TYRANT READING AT KGB WITH GIANCARLO DI TRAPANO, TAO LIN, MICHAEL BIBLE, DANIEL LONG, AND MYSELF.
1.10.12: DOSSIER MAGAZINE RECOMMENDS MY READING WITH JOSEPH SALVATORE AND CATHERINE LACEY AT THE PACIFIC STANDARD.
1.9.12: MY READING AT KGB WITH GARY LUTZ AND ROBERT LOPEZ REVIEWED IN CAPITAL NEW YORK.
NOT A ROSE
Charta, Milan, New York, 2012
A volume of essays on our relationship with nature by philosophers, poets, and writers, accompanied by photographs of Heide Hatry’s experimental renditions of flowers. Contributors include: Jonathan Ames, Jonathan Safran Foer, Siri Hustvedt, Rick Moody, Avital Ronell, Stanley Rosen, and Luisa Valenzuela
AUTORITRATTO CON SICILIA
by Frederic Tuten, Italian translation
Edizioni Drago Bagheria, 2011
Illustrations by Mimmo Paladino
Bomb Magazine: Three Stories
The Fabulist: Palazzo Roberti
Noon Annual: Adult
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg : Vauville
Tweed's Magazine (former Coffin Factory): The Mexicans Never Ask
Whiskey Island: Unfair, Linen Trunks, The Poisoning
Nero Magazine: Incendiaries: Road Injury, Minor Witchcraft, Matt Damon Likes Lakes
SleepingFish: Dead Pope
Dazed&Confused digital: Three Short Stories about Death edited by Stuart Hammond
The Harvard Advocate: Dead Pope
Sidebrow Literary Magazine: Unfair, Dead Sheep, The Guillotine
The Fiddleback Magazine: Advice for New Human
Vice Magazine Italy: I Primi Figli, Il Primo Nipote, Il Primo Ministro, L'Avvelenamento, Ingiustizia, Sorella Smettila di Respirare
The Milan Review: Ugly Baby
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg: Vauville (finalist for Gertrude Stein Award judged by Rick Moody)
Salt Hill Journal 29: Ron Moss The Mountain Goat
The Coffin Factory: The Mourning Pool
Everyday Genius (guest editor Penina Roth): The Wave, The Brotherhood, Nursery
NY Tyrant: The Desolate Priest Boys
Bomb Magazine's Literary Supplement, First Proof: Dead Man, The Poisoning, Camels and Oasis,
Noon Annual: Vauville