Preparing the Ghost By Matthew Gavin Frank
Join us on Thursday, July 31st as we welcome Matthew Gavin Grank, author of Preparing the Ghost, in conversation with acclaimed author Eula Biss.
"Preparing the Ghost is the most original book I have read in years." - Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase
Memory, mythology, and obsession collide in this strikingly original and enigmatic account of the first man to photograph a giant squid.
Moses Harvey was the eccentric Newfoundland reverend and amateur naturalist who first photographed the near-mythic giant squid in 1874, draping it over a shower curtain rod to display its magnitude. In Preparing the Ghost, what begins as Moses’s story becomes much more, as fellow squid-enthusiast Matthew Gavin Frank boldly winds his narrative tentacles around history, creative nonfiction, science, memoir, and meditations about the interrelated nature of them all.
In a full-hearted, lyrical style reminiscent of Geoff Dyer, Frank weaves in playful forays about his research trip to Moses’s Newfoundland home, Frank’s own childhood and family history, and a catalog of bizarre facts and lists that recall Melville’s story of obsession with another deep-sea dwelling leviathan. Though Frank is armed with impressive research, what he can’t know about Harvey he fictionalizes, quite explicitly, as a way of both illuminating the scene and exploring his central theme: the big, beautiful human impulse to obsess.
Matthew Gavin Frank has previously written about everything from wine-making in a tent in Italy to the social hierarchies of a pot farm in California. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.
Eula Biss is the author of No Man's Land and The Balloonists. Her work has also been recognized by a Pushcart Prize, a Jaffe Writers' Award, and a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library. She currently teaches at Northwestern University.