Posted by: Mish | January 6, 2009

Palimpsest and Shangri-La

On February 24, the gates into the tantalizing and sensuous realms of Palimpsest and Shangri-La will open. Rather, Catherynne M. Valente’s evocative urban fantasy and SJ Tucker’s latest delicacy will be released. After having a taste, I look forward to ordering and savoring both.

Palimpsest lies:

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse — a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important — a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

Like wandering through an unknown city, the short story from which the novel was conceived was a little confusing. However, after a few pages, it became less so. Catherynne M. Valente‘s vivid imagery and writing style were the compass and map with which I found my way to the end. The characters within are different from those mentioned above. The short can be read via paperback in Paper Cities, an Anthology of Urban Fantasy or online at Senses Five Press. The novel is currently available for pre-order from Amazon. Palimpsest‘s description, trailer, and short story were enough to pique my interest.


Heard in the trailer is SJ Tucker’s sexy “We Are Shangri-La”, which can be fully heard at Fire & Strings’ myspace. The acoustic folk musician has been experimenting with electronica so the song is quite different from her previous projects. I look forward to hearing and exploring more of this new dimension to her music, which I recently wrote about in my profile post “SJ Tucker”. Her latest album, the soundtrack for Palimpsest, is currently in production.

This isn’t the first time Catherynne’s word-smithing and SJ’s barding have joined in union. SJ has an album of readings and songs (heard in full here) from and for each of the two volumes of The Orphan’s Tales by Catherynne. The tales may also be enjoyed from readings Catherynne is sharing by podcast. Where their journeys go from Palimpsest and Shangri-La is hard to say, but February is not too far away.


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