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RENEE GLADMAN is the author of ten books of poetry and prose, most recently Calamities (Wave Books, 2016), and one monograph of drawings:  Prose Architectures (Wave Books, 2017). Her entire series of fictional works set in the imaginary city-state of Ravicka are available from Dorothy, a publishing project: Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013), and Houses of Ravicka (2017).

pages: 152

format: paperback

isbn: 978-0-9973666-6-2

publication date: November 1, 2017

Houses of Ravicka

Renee Gladman

“[The Ravicka] books are absurd and surreal, and are stabilized by an eerie interior logic: Think The Phantom Tollbooth for adults.” The Atlantic

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Since 2010 writer and artist Renee Gladman has placed fantastic and philosophical stories in the invented city-state of Ravicka, a Ruritanian everyplace with its own gestural language, poetic architecture, and inexplicable physics. As Ravicka has grown, so has Gladman’s project, spilling out from her fiction—Event Factory, The Ravickians, and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge—into her nonfiction (Calamities) and even visual art (Prose Architectures).

The result is a project unlike any other in American letters today, a fictional world that spans not only multiple books but different genres, even different art forms.

In Houses of Ravicka, the city’s comptroller, author of Regulating the Book of Regulations, seems to have lost a house. It is not where it’s supposed to be, though an invisible house on the far side of town, which corresponds to the missing house, remains appropriately invisible. Inside the invisible house, a nameless Ravickian considers how she came to the life she is living, and investigates the deep history of Ravicka—that mysterious city-country born of Renee Gladman’s philosophical, funny, audacious, extraordinary imagination.


“Jakobi is sometimes a man and sometimes a woman; an old acquaintance seizes control of the narration and then gets folded up and put away in a pocket; an unnamed person who lives in the invisible No. 32 claims the entire second part of the novel to reflect on the history of Ravicka’s invisible architecture. These fantastical details add up in a way that might have more in common with performance or installation art than with the expectations brought on by the assumption of a story.” Kirkus

“Profound, compelling—haunting, even—the story of Ravicka is astonishingly ours.” Lyn Hejinian

“Renee Gladman has always struck me as being a dreamer—she writes that way and the dreaming seems to construct the architecture of the world unfolding before our reading eyes.” Eileen Myles

“Gladman’s talent for linguistic architecture makes for a supple, tight promenade through heady ideas whose appeal rests on the implicit connection it draws between a people, their language, and the shape of communication.” Publishers Weekly

cover art: © Gisela Insuaste, 2016: exploración sin fin: here we go, gouache and ink on paper, 20 in x 24 in

Gisela Insuaste received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BA in Anthropology & Studio Art from Dartmouth. She has participated in exhibitions and projects in venues nationwide, including Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ; Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, IL; Krannert Art Museum-UIUC, Champaign, IL; and Bucket Rider Gallery and Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL. She is the recipient of grants and awards, including a Richard Driehaus/Artadia Emerging Artist Award, Illinois Arts Council Artist Grants, and MacDowell Colony Artist Fellowships, and was recently nominated for a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Sculptors and Painters. Recent exhibitions include Satellite Gallery at the University of Texas, San Antonio, TX; Cuchifritos Gallery; and ABC No Rio, New York, NY. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. For more information, please visit her website.