"A Must-Read for Book Lovers in the Digital Age”
Creative Writing Professor and MFA Program Director David Bajo has received the 2017 Brighthorse Book Prize for his new novel, The Ensenada Public Library (2018).
The book entwines narrative and metanarrative, one strand featuring a beleaguered group of public librarians who have to destroy previous books just to accommodate the flood of new publications they receive each day. Interwoven through their challenges is a mysterious, recurring novel about another librarian in an imaginary world in which print has disappeared—all but one precious page that she believes can re-create its original literary text.
Among the reviewers’ praise for this eloquent book, Kate Christensen writes: “David Bajo's taut, gorgeous prose is suffused with a lush nostalgia that shades into futuristic foreboding, a story within the story that contains a deft warning. This is a startlingly original, beautiful novel.” Julia Liz Elliott describes it as “A surreal and haunting elegy on the printed book,” stating that it “tunnels deep into the psychology of reading, unfurling stories within stories—burned and fragmented, erased and reconstructed, imbibed with tea in the depths of apocalyptic caves. Bajo's dazzling meditation on the uncanny power of the written word is a must-read for book lovers in the digital age.” Or, as another reviewer summarizes: “The Ensenada Public Library is what we'd get if Fahrenheit 451 had been written by Jorge Luis Borges,” along “with a cast of characters worthy of Chekhov.”