I have written previously about Cloverfield Press, and have been meaning to write about them again. Two of their books arrived in the mail several weeks ago. These are not really books but bound, stand-alone short stories. They are lovely little things, each with a cream-colored dust jacket upon which title, author, and minimalist illustration are gently embossed.
The ones I got are "Gentleman Reptile" by Henry Baum and "The Cubist Infant" by Justus Ballard. I read each twice; both are very good. "Reptile" is the simpler story, about a man who finds out that his daughter has been appearing in internet pornography, then must reconcile his disgust with his own consumption of pornography and supercharged sexual appetite. Up until the end it's a decent story, but the closing paragraphs made me rethink it (although the final sentence is unnecessary, or maybe just too blunt), and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, and it became a lot better than just decent.
"The Cubist Infant" is a sprawling fictional account of the friendship between Picasso and Georges Braque. Braque is sexually obsessed with Picasso and somehow becomes impregnated by him. All sorts of jackassery goes on between the two. The story is fascinating if oblique, and it contains perhaps the most stomach-turning birth scene - truly, it is disgusting - that I have read anywhere.
I have two more Cloverfield books coming. I look forward to reading them. I am very careful with the ones I have now. (The same is true of Valzhyna Mort's handbound chapbook, which is sitting on my bookshelf, sort of carefully propped on its own, as I type this.) They're so delicate. I really enjoy having possessions like this.