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Portlandia meets Children of Men for a third wave feminist Fight Club Veselka excels at satirizing the escapist antics of organic radicals in an age of perceived U.S decline But in doing so, does she paint herself into a corner The resolution to make peace with our absurd and symptomatic reactions, to perhaps even love them hazards a rescue of the titular stance from irony to the best mode of response It is still easy to fall for Veselka s prose The final lines stunned me But I am ambivalent and admittedly uncertain about what is ultimately proposed Stay, avoid the escapism of ex pats and foodie ascetics, and try to come to grips with crumbling America Or accept things i.e., avoid action and love a planet and a people that are doomed Nearly every review of this that I skimmed through is glowing, but I didn t think it was that great For one thing, it s populated almost solely by hippies and wannabe eco terrorists, and Veselka crams it with so many hippie buzzwords that it makes one gag Yoga, yerba mate, namaste, rallies, leaflets, community organizing, veganism, artisan craft movements, indigenous medicine, co ops, biodynamic farming, and other hippie affectations pervade throughout This is clearly no accident but it grates The characters aren t aware of the extent to which they unconsciously endorse the consumerism they so ardently claim to fight against Is Veselka I d like to think so, but if so, what s the purpose of such contempt for her characters She s obviously a good writer among the things that made me almost rate this three stars were little gems like the following On the water, the city upon the hill wavered, an inverted reflection, and broke into scallops of stuttering light as the sun set Or this The sun was everywhere and the leaves were just turning gold and red and falling like open palms to the waving grass But on the other hand, when Veselka gets topical, you have stuff like this Mr Tofu Scramble So, Della, is this your first day By the way, do you know if Franklin has ordered spelt yet Ed, Logic s Only Son So what s wrong with butter and cheese It s not like you have to slaughter a cow to get cheese.Call me pedantic, but if Ed is logic s only son, and if he is as knowledgeable as he s portrayed though unflatteringly so , wouldn t he know that most cheese production involves rennet, which is derived from calves livers Meaning that in fact you do have to slaughter a cow a baby one, no less to get cheese People praise the fierce activist impulse of this novel, but I don t see it All I see is a furious impotence, encapsulated by the characters whining, cursing, and meaningless rebellions hair dye, etc E.g this I picked it up and thought about buying it and throwing it through the glass door of the box mall church But that door wouldn t break no matter how hard I threw it I couldn t do it anyway I d be afraid I d hit someone or scare some kid so I put it back I m sick of how they always win Boo hoo Della is a PhD and she can t think of any better way to effect social change than to think about throwing rocks at windows, and to not do so That s pathetic Am I supposed to sympathize, or should I have the same contempt Veselka seems to Is the book just supposed to infuriate me Because that s what it did. @Download Pdf ⛈ Zazen Ø Somewhere In Della S Consumptive, Industrial Wasteland Of A City, A Bomb Goes Off It Is Not The First, And Will Not Be The LastReactions To The Attacks Are Polarized Police Activity Intensifies Della S Revolutionary Parents Welcome The Upheaval But Are Trapped Within Their Own Insular Beliefs Her Activist Restaurant Co Workers, Who Would Rather Change Their Identities Than The World Around Them, Resume A Shallow Rebellion Of Hair Dye, Sex Parties, And Self Absorption As Those Bombs Keep Inching Closer, Thudding Deep And Real Between The Sounds Of Katydids Fluttering In The Still Of The City Night, And The Destruction Begins To Excite Her What Begins As Terror Threats Called In To Greasy Bro Bars Across The Block Boils Over Into A Desperate Plot, Intoxicating And Captivating Della And Leaving Her Little Chance For Escape Zazen Unfolds As A Search For Clarity Soured By Irresolution And Catastrophe, Yet Made Vital By The Thin, Wild Veins Of Imagination Run Through Each Escalating Moment, Tensing And Relaxing, Unfurling And Ensnaring Vanessa Veselka Renders Della And Her World With Beautiful, Freighting, And Phantasmagorically Intelligent Accuracy, Crafting From Their Shattered Constitutions A Perversely Perfect Mirror For Our Own Selves And State The world is a violent child none of us will get to see grow up.The writing in this book is unlike anything else I can think of Veselka has her own style, her own voice And it s awesome.This book is like a constant panic attack The tension chokes you Della, our protagonist, is sharply observant and enjoyably critical of all these things in the world today You know, tofu and de caf and soy and vegan and yoga The woman behind the counter was wearing a tank top that had Namaste written across the front of it like the Coca Cola logo Her hair was red and wrapped in an orange scarf Her nails were pink glitter and she had a pendant of Guadalupe hanging from her neck Can I help you she asked.Yes I want to look like you I want to be so thoroughly anchored into some sort of pop culture aesthetic that nothing can knock me over or wash me away or make me hate everyone I want to sleep again I d like to take some yoga classes, I said This is how this book goes Calling out the douchebaggery of people while slowly but surely building up to this incredible, serious, scary climax.And I like everything I just made fun of, except for de caf Zazen is just that wickedly funny To say would be risking ruining the strange apocalyptic stressful dark world and what happens in the end and how lonely and scary and beautiful it all turns out. The world is a violent child none of us will get to see grow up.Zazen is a tidal wave of a book It moves with a slow inevitability, an immense power which grinds down all in its path I m overwhelmed enough that I can t give this book the praise it deserves, so I will defer to my friend Kris review here I advise you read it. i m going to do something i never thought i d have cause to do.ready i m going to publicly declare unadulterated book love if i could marry this book, i would, but human biblio marriages are not yet on the public radar if i could have this book s baby, i would if it were my life or this book s life, i would throw mine down gladly five stars is not enough if i could adorn this book with the night sky, i d do it.it s Zazen it s probably not in your library, but if you live in one of those fortunate states that still funds their libraries, make them order it if you can t, buy it if you can t buy it at your local indie bookstore, buy it online at Powell s, that s where i got it if you have to get on a plane and fly to Portland and sit outside Powell s until they get a new shipment, do it.you can read the summary of the book above the summary does not do it justice, not at all and the whole alternate world thing isn t really relevant to the guts of this story doesn t hurt it either, but it s not at all what makes this story work so gorgeously.it s the voice, the voice of the narrator it is so stunningly unique, diamond hard and silk at the same time this book s rhythms slide between pounding hot iron at a forge and sleepy, half remembered dreams in a perfect, seamless weld the book asks what any sentient human in these times must what do you do with all this pain how can we live day to day with all these wars, and our blue planet s unraveling, and all the endless sound and fury we collectively endure while achieving, seemingly, so little progress toward any sort of nirvana and the real thrill of it is, this book pulls it off and often makes you laugh yourself senseless.on a weird whim, i bought an autographed copy it s going on my shelves next to my autographed vonnegut and my autographed studs terkel, two writers who also looked clear eyed at our times and our species and found, despite it all, cause for hope and bittersweet, but undeniably sweet, laughter. Brilliant writing flaring into bursts of flame and explosion of wildfire This is a first novel, eye opening, jaw dropping for the apparent talent and promise When she is soon able to corral the kindling of associations leading to other brilliant associations, not to limit, but to organize the lightning into a clearer sense of what she wants to say, she will be at the top of current literary writers. How timely a consideration of the options and failures of the radical left in a dystopian political present But Zazen was written five years ago, and given the actual dystopian present facing 2017, unstoppable capitalism, Wallmart, and ongoing overseas wars seem like a much manageable menu of frustrations And what to make of the actual progression The novel opens with and is awash in the details of ineffective personal rebellions of young progressives spelt, veganism, piercings, sex parties, yoga, and other annoyingly obvious details, which are probably meant to annoy, especially in juxtaposition with an older generation of militants who I d ve liked to hear about, or less sarcastic things about On the whole, this feels deeply cynical, then almost naive with a sense of possibility, all of which later falls into deep disillusionment, finally to give way to an unearned resolution and sense of holism and hope granted, this is a personal trajectory, not a proposed solution There s no easy answer provided, nor expected, but I m not sure that the analysis of the issues, in such a politically plotted novel, really goes deep enough.On the other hand, Zazen is as timely as ever, urgent even, and raises worthwhile questions And Veselka has a brilliant facility for juggling her interconnected systems of symbol and thought with pyrotechnic prose Prose pyrotechnics and narrative bombs, but is there real fire beneath the smoke, or any that doesn t dissipate under scrutiny I hope so, and I want to read Veselka s next book, whatever that may be. It s about how much fear you hide in your cells blue cells, red cells, sickle cells, sleeper cells, jail cells people are shot through with it But I don t hold my fear there Everybody needs a place where they re fearless or they d never survive, at least I wouldn t Sometimes I hate this world Especially when it s beautiful than I can imagine Della Mylinek is slinging tofu scrambles and other vegan concoctions at a local diner The world is destabilizing with a series of wars against unnamed foes Ultimately does it matter who they are She has a Ph.D in Geology, but sees the world not just through a scientific lens, but also through a romantic counter culture kaleidoscope I m not sure I ve ever met anyone in fiction or real life that sees the world clearly, expansively, than Della MylinekI feel different when I believe different things Only I don t know how to go back to feeling how I did because I can t re believe That s what life does to us, right It keeps hitting us We see our shield go spinning away from us We can t breath so we pull off our helmet Chunks of our armor fall down around us We hold our sword with two hands and wonder if we should parry another blow or just drive the sword up into our own throat Please, everyone, continue to parry Once the apple has been eaten Once the gossamer has been swept from our eyes Once we see the world in all it s violent colors we can not re believe Save your fucking pennies for a gun and a history book If our leaders had read history we wouldn t need to buy the gun People are leaving, jumping ship, escaping before the last pretenses of civilization have become nothing than a tattered flag They are going to exotic locals, extended eco tourism, thinking simplicity will save them from the ravages of an unraveling technology based world The people who are staying are embracing hedonistic behavior such as orgy parties, drug experimentation, and using alcohol to excess Interesting what we decide to do with our last days What would Scooby Doo do Della has a ticket, a cowardly ticket, but it feels like the last vestiges of a defendable world are crumbling and she believes that soon she will be overrun, trampled by the revolution of the new world Her parents who are die hard radicals will be so disappointed The anarchy of this new future is their drug choiceIt was all suffering, all torque, a seamless garment of miseryBombs are going off in the city The explosions remind me of the hunts when they use noise from beaters to move the game towards the guns The bombs are convincing and people it is time to go Those that have hunkered down are hearing the screams of their biology to flee Della is caughtbetween moments .She starts calling in fake bomb threats just to see the reactions of the people She presses her finger into the oozing wound of their fear She feels herself descending into an amalgam of her parents, terrorists, and prophetsI felt the part of me that couldn t be moved, moving, a glacial shift in all my horrible prideIs she moving away from herself or towards her real self Vanessa Veselka was a teenage runaway She has worked as a union organizer, a sex worker, and a student of paleontology Her past has been fused into this novel creating a future that is so real that after reading it I walked outside just to make sure my world was still there There are condemnations of the recent wars that we ve found ourselves mired in She exposes the unnatural conspiratory fears that people are capable of embracing that were so prevalent with the Tea Party recently as one example and how real those fears become to those that wish to believe The left doesn t get off the hook either as she casts a jaundiced eye at what they choose to feel is important as well Of course she doesn t name names or party affiliations or even countries, but she shows a recent past that could have been so much worse and a future that could be our own There is brilliance throughout the book Lines that can not be ignored The world is a violent child none of us will get to see grow up This is a thoughtful book Every person that reads this novel will see pieces of their past and future selves shining like beacons of truth It is relatively easy for us to roll through life with dashes of tragedy or pain or joy or unbridled happiness when the safety net of society is there to break the fall or keep us from growing Icarus wings When the safety net is gone that is when we all will find out who we really are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Sometimes you just need to be someone else, someone who doesn t care about anything at all I know I do I want emptiness but I can t have itI read this book because of the amazing review Kris wrote, and she truly has an impeccable taste in books The memory of her praise of this slim volume was what kept me from giving up through the first third of the story, until finally the book gripped my heart and insisted that I continue with it, until I finally was powerless to put it downLately, I ve become afraid that the feeling I used to feel, like something good was waiting, is what people mean when they say young and that it is nothing than a chemical associated with a metabolic process and not anything real at allThe core of this book hinges not on the plot but on the metaphor laden emotions and feelings desperate and overpowering ones It s very internally oriented which eventually becomes its strongest pointI wish it were enough just to be alive I knew what she meant than anything I had ever known. Narrated by a character who recently has gone through a significant even if not much alluded to mental breakdown and is in the utmost fragile mental statemy wiring was shot and I cried all the time, Zazen is filled to the brim with trembling tense panic, raw staccato emotions, disdain of conformity and nonconformity alike, loss and isolation and alienation, suffocating fear and anger, deep intense longing for something that at last can be real, and overpowering desire to run away from it all to the place where something will somehow be betterI d like to see something happen Something big that wasn t scary, just beautiful Some kind of wonderful surprise Like how fireworks used to feelDella, emotionally fragile paleontologist turned waitress at a vegan restaurant, is very isolated and quite misanthropic, secretly harboring ahidden desire for things not to be fucked, to belong somewhereA child of the radical revolutionary parents, she exists in a world of the contrasts and divides On one side there is the suffocating fakeness of the all is hunky dory culture venerating mass consumerism, worshiping it in the box mall church On another side, there is the counterculture of rejection and resistance, bordering on hatred and destruction And somewhere place them yourself are thoseso thoroughly anchored into some sort of pop culture aesthetic that nothing can knock me over or wash me away or make me hate everyoneBut is any of that real in a sense we perceive real Real as in free from fake , free of the pre packaged ready to consume one size fits most roles and identities that are so easily doled out by the culture where patriotism and shopping are intertwined Is is any wonder Della is angry and confused Is it any wonder she feels lost Is it any wonder she notices thatEveryone had a pretty good reason to blow up a building I agreed with most of them War A is going well and no longer a threat, small and mature Like a bonsai War B is in full flower Its thin green shoots reaching across the ocean floor like fiber optic cable Our only defense is attackIs it any wonder she feels trapped in a world perpetually on a brink of war, where bombs go off, children die, and there people who in protest set themselves on fireAnd they were all like that, macrobiotic Belgian trust fund junkies, park bench anarchists, mean white lesbians in canvas clothing and dreadlocks each ready to denounce you as a cop at the slightest sign of dissent My dirty little secret was that I only liked militants at a distance Up close I couldn t stand them Their targets were always the same, a cow path from the cell to the Great Reactionary Dawn I wanted something creative than dead clerksA child of radicals, a sister of an activist, a friend or at least an associate of those who can be easily called domestic terrorists, Della strikes me as first of all a pacifist She may be fascinated with bombs and self immolation and such but, after all, all she really wants is foreverything to be okay, everything to change, and no one to get hurtAnd the world does not work that way, sadlyThat s the problem with symbolic gestures People never take them far enoughAnd the world does not run on symbolic gestures only But real gestures Della eventually comes to see that they are not an alternative not for her, at least The tense panic, the longing, the fear of passivity and fear of violence, the need for acceptance, the search for real identity all those things screaming from the pages of this metaphor laden book, and try as hard as I can I m unable to stop thinking about itI also knew what it was like to be somewhere foreign, waiting for the person you used to be to show upI have spent a few days trying to come to terms with what I feel about this book I ve never really felt that lost or desperate or that lonely as Della does so why did it ultimately begin to resonate with me this hard Because it plays on our inner essential desire for things to be fine, for the world to be real , for love instead of hatred Maybe so I don t know maybe I need a few years on my shoulders to understand everything that is going through my own head right now What I do know is that this book still hasn t let me go and for this I can give it 4.5 stars without much hesitationAnnette says I m too hard on the world, that I only see one side.Grace says I m afraid of my own longing.I looked around at the smoke and people I couldn t find any hate in me anywhere The world is a violent child none of us will get to see grow up.I decided to love it anyway