Atet A.D.

Atet A.D.

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Author: Nathaniel Mackey

Publisher: City Lights (2001)

Atet A.D. is the third volume of Nathaniel Mackey’s ongoing epistolary fiction, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate. Like the first two volumes, Bedouin Hornbook and Djbot Baghostus’s Run, this work is written by the composer/multi-instrumentalist N., a founding member of a band formerly known as the Mystic Horn Society.

The letters in Atet A.D. span a seven-month period beginning shortly after Thelonious Monk’s death and culminating in the band recording their first album on John Coltrane’s birthday. Rendered in N.’s distinctive mix of discursive registers, they chronicle and meditate upon, among other events, Penguin’s return from seclusion, N.’s recurring cowrie shell attacks, the band’s adoption of a new name, and their being beset, beginning with a gig in Seattle, by a new, perplexing twist in their expressive powers.