Posts by: Bryan Washington

Perfunctory Rebellion

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Over at BOMB, A.L. Stein sits down with Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts, to chat about metaphysics, attachments, and her relationship with the normative:

“The normative/transgressive dichotomy is so deep. I remember a student I had a while ago, a trans person deeply invested in anti-assimilation, who was saying to me quite plaintively one day, “I just don’t see how to keep resisting the normative!” So I asked him, “Can you name what it is, exactly, that you feel like you have to resist?” And he said, “Well, I don’t want to get married or have a baby.” After he left my office I just kept thinking, Well, that’s weird, ‘cuz I’m married, and I have a baby.”

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Not From This Dimension

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Sarah Gerard interviews Ottesa Moshfegh for Hazlitt—among other concessions, Moshfegh admits that she’s “not from this dimension”:

I’m like an alien in a human body. I come from a different place, a different plane of existence. I can’t explain that other place because I don’t know it in this lifetime, I don’t have memories of it, but I know it is a softer place.

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Urban Escape

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Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of.

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Infierno Completo

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Sergio Pitol gets the profile treatment over at Lit Hub:

Sergio Pitol (1933) is all of the above; he is, I believe, a total writer. And by writer I do not mean one of those intellectuals who flirt with power (“The difference between who I am now and who I was then is defined by my passion for reading and my aversion for any manifestation of power,” he declares in The Art of Flight), nor a multipurpose lecturer: in Mexico we tend to laud with the uppercase W of “Writer” anyone who, in addition to publishing occasionally, anoints candidates in popular election.

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When the Story Begins

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Longreads gifts us newly translated fiction from Antonio Tabucci:

He must be almost ninety, he spends his afternoons gazing out the window at New York’s skyscrapers, a Puerto Rican girl comes each morning to tidy up his apartment, she brings him a dish from Tony’s Café that he reheats in the microwave, and after he listens religiously to the old Béla Bartók records that he knows by heart, he ventures out for a short walk to the entrance of Central Park, in his armoire, in a plastic garment bag, he preserves his general’s uniform, and when he returns from the park, he opens its door and pats the uniform twice on the shoulder, like he would an old friend, then he goes to bed, he’s told me he doesn’t dream, but if he does, it’s only of the sky over the Hungarian plains, he thinks that must be the effect of the sleeping pill an American doctor prescribed.

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