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Working Titles

Welcome to the Massachusetts Review's Working Titles! Working Titles are e-publications of prose too long for our print pages. Working Titles will be published bimonthly.

Working Titles are now available on Weightless Books, a local, independent e-book distributor. You can also find all of our Working Titles may be purchased as Kindle Singles or Kobo.

Working Titles are made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Five Colleges, Inc., and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, as well as private donors.

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In David Stromberg's newest work, Mister Investigator takes on the end of the world—or rather, this fraught and dangerous moment that we find ourselves in, and what it says about our future. This particular moment, a crisis that feels unique and strange, is actually connected—as Mister Investigator discovers—to multiple precedents. To this end, Stromberg's analysis is first and foremost a reading: of the thinkers, poets, artists, philosophers, and politicians, who have in the past reacted to the unthinkable. He is most committed to those thinkers who managed to hold their despair close to home, or "not to lose it"—a phrase allegedly uttered to Anna Akhmatova by her then husband, the art historian Nikolai Punin. In Mister Investigator's case, it is the likes of W. H. Auden, who chose to look at the fateful events of 1939 with full awareness, or the painter Mark Rothko, whose "recipe for art" includes a willing engagement with death, irony, and tension.

Mister Investigator has the courage to study the raw texture of the present moment. He knows no comfort and no consolation, and he invites real effort at cognition. Stromberg's ability and desire to look closely at events that evoke horror is what makes his text so attractive—and more to the point, so necessary today. 

Read an excerpt here or order from Amazon, Kobo, or Weightless Books.

Praise for David Stromberg:

"In Baddies, David Stromberg has created a cozy little planet of alter egos and parallel lives, urban marginals with vaguely Eastern European names. . . . Fantastic." —Los Angeles Times

DAVID STROMBERG is a writer, translator, and literary scholar. He has published fiction in The Woven Tale Press, Atticus Review, and the UK's Ambit, nonfiction in The American Scholar, Literary Matters, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and translations in The New Yorker, Asymptote, and Conjunctions. In 2019, he published a series of personal reflections in Public Seminar about growing up on the ethnic and cultural margins of Los Angeles. He is the author of four cartoon collections, including Baddies (Melville House), and two critical studies, most recently Idiot Love and the Elements of Intimacy (Palgrave). He acts as editor to the Isaac Bashevis Singer Literary Trust and his edited collection of Singer's essays is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

Working Titles Currently Available

Working Title 1.3: Tomorrow We Never Did Talk About It

a story by Eduardo Halfon, translated by Anne McLean

Working Title 1.4: Emergency Exit

a story by Carissa Halston

Working Title 1.5: Strange Mercies

a story by Pete Duval

Working Title 1.6: Just Another Jihadi Jane

a novel excerpt by Tabish Khair

Working Title 1.7: Ambrosia

a story by Lee Upton

Working Title 2.2: Time Served

an essay by J. Malcolm Garcia

Working Title 2.3: The Leader

a story by Nouri Zarrugh

Working Title 3.1: Table for One

A story by Yun Ko Eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler

On the Quay at Smyrna (Working Title 3.2)

a novella by Margot Demopoulos

The Tombs of Guy Debord

An Essay by Jean-Marie Apostolidès, translated by Laure Katsaros and Rene Kooiker

Night Hands

Jen Cross

AMOUR: Fields of Battle, Fields of Love

Véronique Tadjo, translated by Carolyn Shread

Silence Like Blood

Marie-Célie Agnant, translated by Dawn Fulton

CAPE COD, REVISITED

Michael Thurston

Bird Girl

Avital Balwit

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