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Event Factory

(Ravicka #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  80 reviews

Fiction. A "linguist-traveler" arrives by plane to Ravicka, a city of yellow air in which an undefined crisis is causing the inhabitants to flee. Although fluent in the native language, she quickly finds herself on the outside of every experience. Things happen to her, events transpire, but it is as if the city itself, the performance of life there, eludes her. Setting out
Paperback, 126 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Dorothy, a publishing project
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3.87  · 
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 ·  388 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: amateur linguists
Recommended to Sean by: Nate D

Having finished the first volume in Renee Gladman's Ravicka cycle, I'm alternating between thinking it was written out all at once from within a fugue state or it was painstakingly crafted word by word over a long period of time. Perhaps a combination of the two? At times the absurdity and level of specificity in detail feels pleasantly random, though it could just as easily have been carefully plotted. This is one of those short and dense yet paradoxically open texts that begs for rereadings a
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I should probably read Event Factory a couple more times before even attempting to review it in any form. I am still thinking about it and I'm not sure if I'm gaining more insight or if it's slipping away from my conscious mind the more I try to remember it, to keep it with me. And that's exactly the same feeling sneaking throughout this novel: a fading sense of reality, the crumbling of any litteral and logical understanding.

There is no real plot, no linearity. The narrator is a traveller-lin
Nate D
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: travelers
Recommended to Nate D by: unravelers
A deconstructed linguistic ethnography of a deeply foreign city in an undefined state of crisis, where words, gestures, and architecture take on new meanings. At times the scenes and description becomes so thin as to nearly escape definition into abstraction, but threads of mystery and threads of character serve to coil the story tightly about the reader until the finish. I've been meaning to read this for ages and it was completely worth it.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is often a weird thing that happens when you reread books, especially when those rereads are only hours or days from one another. What this "weird thing" is varies greatly from book to book; perhaps most often in fiction a first read will create a sensation of rushing and accumulation, a quick processing of plot and character points in order to find out that age-old age-old, "what happens next." The second read represents a slowness, a clarity, an assembly of all sorts of information -- an ...more
musa b-n
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really really loved this book. The style was incredibly refreshing and I thought it was just really interesting.
Paul Dembina
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
These observations of strange rituals and behaviours by an unjudgmental observer reminded me slightly of the graphic novels of Yuichi Yokoyama.

Meaning wriggles out of one's grasp.

I'm intrigued enough to try the rest of the series.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gladman's language can best be described as patient.
While her main character's story itself moves along quickly, Gladman's language slowly reveals what exactly is going on. And even that takes a slow path. In the book, an unnamed female linguist narrates her arrival and journey through Ravicka apparently to help the with a problem: something is wrong in the country and no one is saying or doing anything about it.
As our linguist begins her search, easily travelling deeper into the country and lea
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Movement, language, and decay. These are the key signs and struggles of the narrator in Ravicka. The book is like an evocative puzzle in which the narrator and reader try to piece together these resonant moments/paragraphs/events, and figure out where we are. And why what we see is going on. Renee Gladman does all this with clean language that has an unfussy poetics, and a structure that is composed of mysterious events that challenge and complicate the (perhaps false) meaning gathered from line ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
like a static sculpture that also seems constantly in motion or a dance momentarily evoking an architectural shape, renee gladman’s excellently strange new work EVENT FACTORY is a deliberate and skilfully sustained act of contradiction. gladman steadily is at play in moving the work forward, in its development — while committed to a flat, still affect. this commitment also gives the work a sense of unwavering integrity and moral purpose (as this affect perhaps the costume worn only by the true p ...more
John Madera
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Event Factory might be considered the field notes of a polylinguist, one conversant in at least seven languages, and many dialects within them; an estranged stranger in a stranger land, that is, Ravicka, an invisible city, a city wavering between indivisibility and its opposite; all rendered by Gladman, a connoisseur of the sentence, in pellucid prose reminiscent of Italo Calvino’s cosmic comedies, in service to a refractive narrative sometimes mirroring the disjunctive absurdities of Ben Marcus ...more
Patrik Sampler
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Event Factory by Renee Gladman is a bravely strange, unnatural novel. In it, a tourist arrives in the fictitious nation of Ravicka. She has studied the national language, but perhaps insufficiently: Ravicka seems to be in a state of social unrest, but it is difficult to assess exactly what is going on; perhaps this is because the protagonist is not fully adept with the language, or because locals avoid direct discussions. The protagonist is unable to break the surface, and the same can be said f ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A stranger book than I anticipated, and yet exactly as strange as I'd hoped. It's impressive when a novel questions the very veracity/power of the words on the page, the fundamental underlying *language* of it all - and Gladman deploys a dream-logic narrative flow to help further undermine the reader's stability in the world she has created. But instead of being off-putting or disruptive, this is engaging and compelling and some bits of sense start to arrive... just in time for the book to end. ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
A post-modern, distilled, re-enactment of Delaney's "Dhalgren?"

A book less written than implied - narration clear yet empty. A world richly imagined but barely described. Intimacy and claustrophobia, surveillance and solitude, miscommunication and misdirection, and the limits of language and translation are explored (or at least, encountered). At some point there is dancing about architecture, which I suppose is what one does, lacking the concept of adverbs.

A work of gesture or a gesture towards
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
someone called her "more kafka than kafka" and if that isn't a life goal then what is
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve been reading these books out of order, so it was nice to be introduced to the absences of several key characters now. Including I suppose the people of ravicka. I had read the later books as they related to Calvino but now I understand that Delany is here too.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
If Ursula K. Le Guin and Miranda July had a child and that child wrote a book, with echoes of "Annihilation" (Southern Reach Trilogy), that book just might be "Event Factory."
Victoria Walton
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Victoria Walton
Renee Gladman's book Event Factory is comprised of small snatches of experiences, thoughts, and consciousness in an illusionary place called Ravicka. Everything is ambiguous and delusional feeling, while still carrying remnants of a travel journal. The narrator (her gender the reader infers ) interacts with the inhabitants of this northern European region, in a hotel, and throughout the city.
The first notable feature was the use of the Ravickian language as something foreign a
alyce connolly
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I agree with Eileen Myles. Reading this book felt like being in the middle of a dream.

However, sometimes it wasn't an especially compelling dream. It was one I would've mostly forgotten immediately upon rolling over and opening my eyes.

I experienced that familiar feeling of being asleep in a dream, slightly lucid yet confused and unaware of my foggy peripheral surroundings. Paradoxically, unclear imagery and insights could become startlingly precise for moments and then quickly fade away again.

May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
More of what I loved about Juice, this time sustained for a whole novel. The dream logic and confusion here is tied to the feeling of being an outsider in a foreign country, the confusion of language. A really amazing book that takes my favorite parts of something like Invisible Cities only without the need to wrap it up in logical, story problem type packages, which I think is why I'm more interested in something like this than Calvino. Delightful confusion prevails. I'm especially drawn to the ...more
Paula Koneazny
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
My review of Event Factory is currently posted on Tarpaulin Sky blog:
Janina Schnitzer
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
“Event Factory” is a disorienting experience, in which the reader is dragged along by an unnamed woman linguist, who is a stranger visiting the “yellow” land of Ravicka. Fluent in Ravic, the linguist tries to fit into the Ravickian society, though she remains apart, as a visitor, and cannot become a native since she knows she will eventually leave. After her plane lands, she checks into a motel run by a man named Simon, and meets a strange woman (who becomes Simon’s lover) named Mrs. Savoy. The ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-work
Um, Okay then.

Event Factory is a novella with an inflated page count thanks to small pages and wide margins. The acknowledgements indicate that Renee Gladman was inspired by Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren, a work with surface-level similarities to Event Factory: both feature strange cities where some unexplained catastrophe has led to much of the population leaving, and sex is a frequently recurring event. Beyond the surface level, though, the works are very different. Dhalgren’s city Bellona for t
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Architecture -- language, space -- makes meaning possible, and, in the space before that construction, possibility waits. In the vision before both coalesce, one does not quite wait, but maybe, more accurately, one hesitates? Search for the door, the window, the salutation, the gesture of greeting. Trouble is, articulating that hesitation, that point of choosing is a difficult and bloodless affair, not much given to narrative and in fact almost antithetical to it.

Gladman's business here is to d
Brent Woo
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lang-play
Beautiful, absolutely mystifying irreal world. Populated by humans who don't act or respond exactly right, and—speak isn't quite the right word—perform a strange language. The antagonist isn't an evil person or a company or "society"—it's this subtly insidious language that requires you to perform it correctly, not just sound but gesture and body movements and... architecture. Otherwise you won't be colored Good Yellow anymore, you might lose an arm. Reminds me the most unnerving fictional being ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
A strange book, "experimental prose", that sometimes frustrates, or gives the impression of a dream, or thrills with barely articulateable wonder. It was slow going, and I'm not sure I can recommend it, but I am curious to read on in the series, and I'm so happy that people are writing things like this.

Don't be nervous, it is a narrative novel, of sorts. Things do happen. There is a narrator, characters, and plot. It's all very novel.
Getty Hesse
May 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
In the acknowledgments, Gladman thanks Samuel R. Delany for writing Dhalgren, one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, unlike Dhalgren, Event Factory does not center the narrative around hyper-realistic characters. There is no anchor for the reader to hold on to among the inexplicable occurrences. The characters are as inexplicable as what occurs around them.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Event Factory is a fascinating ethnolinguistic thought experiment that pointedly gives you nothing to hold on to; it took me three separate runs at this 126 page book to finish it, but it's worth it to get in tha genius Renee Gladman's headspace for a while.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not my thing and yet I want to read more
Isaiah Newman
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully inventive and insightful book that evokes the magical realism of Borges in a contemporary political mode, and innovates the novel as a form in some really interesting ways.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Very good
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Born in Atlanta, GA, in 1971, Renee Gladman studied Philosophy at Vassar College and Poetics at New College of California. In addition to Calamities, she is the author of eight works of prose, including the Ravicka novels Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013), as well as a book of poetry, A Picture-Feeling. Her most recent work of fiction Morelia is fo ...more

Other books in the series

Ravicka (4 books)
  • The Ravickians
  • Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge
  • Houses of Ravicka
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