'Drifts' by Adjunct Professor Kate Zambreno out from Riverhead Books

Audrey Deng
May 14, 2020

A new book by adjunct assistant professor Kate ZambrenoDrifts, will be released on May 19 by Riverhead Books.

Drifts is an intimate portrait of reading, writing, and creative obsession that tells the story of a writer who is working on a book titled Drifts, effectively making the book a work of autofiction.

The narrator documents her experience writing the book while reading Wittgenstein, walking around New York, and her time spent not writing: she cares for her dog, Genet, she emails her friends, and procrastinates by surfing the internet.

cover the book, photo of black and white waves

Publishers Weekly writes, “Zambreno offers an enticing chronicle of how a book might actually be written—dramatizing how a writer’s work affects her life, and vice versa—filled with small moments of magic."

In an interview with Sarah Manguso for The Paris Review, Zambreno said, “I think much of my block in writing my novel Drifts was this feeling that the work was supposed to ‘succeed’ or ‘break through,’ as they say in publishing.”

Kyle Chayka writes in the New Republic that Drifts is the unintentionally perfect book for quarantine reading. “Kate Zambreno’s new novel, Drifts, was not written with a pandemic in mind, of course. But the pandemic might be the best context in which to read it...This spiky book, with its fragmented prose and Sebaldian black-and-white photos, has become unexpectedly relatable.”

Zambreno is the author of seven books. She is at work on a study on Hervé Guibert for Columbia University Press. Recent work has appeared in Paris Review, BOMB, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

You can listen to an excerpt of Drifts on the Penguin Random House site and order your copy now here.