The Future of Dark Fiction is Bright: On “Monster, She Wrote” by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson
Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson’s Monster, She Wrote is an enchanting and necessary exploration of how horror has evolved since the seventeenth century—a genre that has made a fierce, subversive comeback in today’s publishing landscape. And women are at the center of it all.
On Memory, Patriarchy, and Gender in Siri Hustvedt’s Fiction
If fiction is “the lie through which we tell the truth,” as Albert Camus said, then Siri Hustvedt’s fiction relays the truth that memory is more than just unreliable—it’s invented.
“The Pull of the Great Wrong World”: On Lidia Yuknavitch’s “Verge”
In Verge’s stories, Yuknavitch marshals her considerable talents and well-documented experiences—as a survivor of abuse, a recovering addict, and a self-proclaimed “misfit” (her pride in this appellation forming the basis of a famous TED talk and book, The Misfit’s Manifesto)—in service of illuminating the lives of women on the margins.
It’s the End of the World as We Know It: The Amateurs Offers a Glimpse of Life After the Apocalypse
How do you start over when the world ends? There doesn’t have to be an apocalypse for life as you know it to tilt. These days, we wake up to headlines that read from a dystopian novel. And The Amateurs, the debut novel by Liz Harmer, has something to say to those who shelter in place about staying put, about love, and also about letting go.
Young Adults on the Rise: On Natalia Sylvester’s “Running”
Running’s greatest strength is Mari’s trajectory from observer to partaker in her realization that, even as a young teen, she can make a difference.
The Shadowless Gravedigger: On Victoria Chang’s “Obit”
The prose poems and tankas in Victoria Chang’s Obit are less traditional elegies than a series of verbal proofs through which Chang investigates those aspects of experience––grief, pain, love––that seem beyond our capacity to represent them. “Language fails us” more than once in this collection (it gets three obituaries of its own), and yet words are what the speaker of these poems must use both “to calculate my grief” and to convey it. These poems’ generous, meticulous record of grieving is inseparable from Chang’s retooling of poetic form and language.
The Heart’s Home is a Trojan Horse: On Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s “Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory”
A good writer drops readers miles from where they expected; great ones like Raphael Bob-Waksberg take readers just where they want to go, but when they arrive, the landscape doesn’t look how they remember.
Review: “The Anti-Grief” by Marianne Boruch
Choosing to remember the whole truth—with all of its unsavory details—is therefore not only a personal but also a political act, a rejection of the sort of selective, melodramatic remembering that is the lifeblood of nationalism.