THE SMOKE WEEK
Avery's first published book, a personal narrative called THE SMOKE WEEK: SEPTEMBER 11-21, 2001, came out in 2003 from Gival
Press. Honored as a Notable book by Writers' Notes in 2004, THE SMOKE WEEK won the Ohioana Library's Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant
for Emerging Writers in 2002.
To read sections of THE SMOKE WEEK, please visit Gival
Press. To hear Avery reading sections aloud from THE SMOKE WEEK in Eleven, an anthology of artists responding to September 11th, check out Revolucien Wreckidz.
To buy THE SMOKE WEEK, please visit Powell's or Amazon (and write a nice reader's review!) or order it from your local independent bookstore.
personal story of a few days in September of 2001 gives expression to
our national suffering. Here is Witness. Here is Testimony."
--Maxine Hong Kingston, author of THE FIFTH BOOK OF PEACE.
Three years after publication, THE SMOKE WEEK has received attention from the press!
"Real work of art"
--Bruce Newman, The San Jose Mercury News
Quoted below, four paragraphs from Newman's longer thinkpiece:
WOUNDED NATION FOUND SOLACE IN ART
COLLECTIVE GRIEF AND ANGER MANIFEST IN POP CULTURE
Five years later, 9/11 remains a stake not so easily removed from the heart of American popular culture. Its impact has been predictably wide, but it has not always been deep. Hollywood -- the mammoth engine that drives American popular culture -- was a timid first responder, digitally removing the World Trade Center from more than a dozen movies that came out in the first year after the attacks. Wary of allowing their customary box-office imperative to profane an event that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, the motion picture studios have spent most of the past five years engaged in hand-wringing about whether it was ''too soon'' to make movies about 9/11.
Hollywood's uncommon display of restraint struck many people as sensitivity taken to the level of self-censorship. ''It's never too soon,'' says Kirby Dick, director of the upcoming documentary ''This Film Is Not Yet Rated,'' which deals with censorship. ''That's what art does. Art isn't effective or successful unless it happens too soon.''
Nobody could fault the nation's book publishers for holding back. A year after the assault, the New York Times bestseller list featured nine attack-related titles among its top 15 books, and there were an additional 60 or so that never made the list. The Sept. 11 commission's official report was the first to go multi-platform, released initially as a bestselling book, and more recently as a TV special and DVD (''On Native Soil'') and even a comic book (''The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation'').
Literary carpetbaggers swarmed over the emotional wreckage, but far from the bestseller lists, the real work of art often was going on in what some people referred to -- unironically, inasmuch as irony had been declared dead -- as the shadow of ground zero. In ''The Smoke Week,'' Ellis Avery writes about watching the rain dissolve thousands of photos of the missing that papered Lower Manhattan after the towers imploded. ''It's like they're dying all over again,'' she writes. ''Isn't it enough, to be killed and ashed and scattered? Do we have to breathe and drink their pictures, too? Today I cannot bear the ruthless thrift of living, the sickening alchemy of rot and seed. Even grief becomes manure.''
(9/10/2006. Click here to read the article in its entirety, though you'll have to pay to use the newspaper's archive-- thus the choice to run a long quote above.)
THE LAST NUDE
THE TEAHOUSE FIRE
THE SMOKE WEEK