In a Paper City write nothing down. So commands this text, which dismantles itself as it charts its own admonished course, navigating the interstices between English and French, the author's two mother tongues. Through the disquieting absence of the characters n and b, and the narrator's attempt to uncover and record their lives, Stephens confronts and challenges human proscription through the untranslatibility of experience, with ironic and apocalyptic consequences. Beneath this thin narrative runs an undercurrent of horror that decries the deliberate plunder of the City resulting from an absolute disregard for history's relationship to the body's fictions – what n and b term 'art lost to numbers.'
About the author
Nathalie Stephens (Nathanael) writes l'entre-genre in English and French. She is the author of a dozen books including ABSENCE WHERE AS (CLAUDE CAHUN AND THE UNOPENED BOOK) (Nighboat Books, 2009), At Alberta (BookThug, 2008), THE SORROW AND THE FAST OF IT (Nightboat Books, 2007), Touch to Affliction (Coach House, 2006), Paper City (Coach House, 2003), Je Nathanael (l'Hexagone, 2003) and L'Injure (l'Hexagone, 2004), a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and Prix Trillium. JE NATHANAEL exists in English self-translation (BookThug, 2006). Other work exists in Basque and Slovene with book-length translations in Bulgarian (Paradox Publishing, 2007). In addition to translating herself, Stephens has translated works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Gail Scott, Bhanu Kapil, and Sina Queyras.