The grief story: it’s sympathetic, moving, and even cathartic when done well. It’s also a trap for clichés, overwrought metaphors, sticky sentimentality, and hyperbole. Add that to the ubiquity of the grief story, and you get a subject that can be damn tricky to write well....more
Posts Tagged: Guernica
At Guernica, Sara Nović condemns the linguistic dismissal of American Sign Language and questions the overwhelming primacy of spoken English. She attributes this erasure of Deaf culture not only to widespread misconceptions about disability, but also to the insatiable American desire to steamroll all forms of difference it encounters:
No savior narrative can be extracted; no hearing person gifted language, or schools, to America’s deaf people.
For Guernica, Elisa Gabbert explores the incorporation of emoji into language and fiction. Gabbert also addresses the idea of diachronic translations, i.e. translating fiction from one historical era to another, and what place hyper-specific contemporary technology like emoji have in fiction....more
At Guernica, Elizabeth Karp-Evans interviews John Freeman, the founder of the literary journal Freeman’s, on freelancing, his goals for Freeman’s, and cultivating narratives:
Narratives are individual; after that they become myths because you need to abstract a narrative to make it apply to many at once.
Last December, a group of feminist activists from all over the world met and discussed a new women’s solidarity movement. The full discussion, with an introduction by Eve Ensler, is up now at Guernica.
Now is the time for women to write a different story, grown from the everyday struggles and experiences of those who are most often at the receiving end of disastrous policies and ventures, who clean up the messes and transform the destruction, who build the secret shelters, rescue the raped, stand for the dead, hold town halls for the voiceless, and give presence to the invisible.
Sarah Galo interviewed Molly Crabapple for Guernica. They talked about race, violence, innocence, and narrative voice:
Lately, I haven’t been putting myself into my work that much, because I’ve just found the stories of the people I’m talking to much more interesting than my reactions to them.
This week, we have two stories of time machines and space stations, but mostly of people who clean up messes. Amber Sparks’s second collection of short stories, The Unfinished World, published on Monday by Liveright, is a vivid and imaginative blend of sci-fi and fantasy, magical realism and surrealism....more
In her op-ed “Hillary in History,” published November 8, 2015, New York Times columnist Gail Collins notes that “when it comes to women winning political office, there’s a long line of wives in the cast of characters.” She calls Clinton a “perfect transitional figure,” representing the intersection of the power behind the throne and the ambition to wield that power herself.
Whether you’re a writer or not, you can imagine looking at your life and thinking, “What have I done?” What she’s doing in these books is asking, “What does my life mean?” She’s using that concrete image of being a writer and having a friendship, but she’s investigating the meaning of life.
It’s December, that magical time of year when newspapers and websites across the globe unveil their “Best of the Year” lists. Valeria Luiselli has been all over them with her innovative novel The Story of my Teeth, and lucky for us, this week Guernica gifted us a new Luiselli short story, “Shakespeare, New Mexico,” translated by Christina MacSweeney....more
This tension is not new. It is a product of the systemic racism built into the institution, as ubiquitous as the architecture that characterizes the place in our shared consciousness. “Everyone who enters Yale is reminded that they’re in an environment that is a product of centuries of classism and racism,” Cynthia Hua, who graduated earlier this year, told me.
Ben Mauk interviews Pinar Yoldas for Guernica about her ecological-themed visual art, part of a style Yoldas has dubbed “eco-futurist” (rather than the more current trend of “cli-fi” art). Where some environmentally-conscious writing and art views humanity’s effects on nature as the end of an ecosystem, Yoldas uses the state of an ecosystem as a starting-off point for how nature will adapt and evolve in response to human interference....more
I feel like I’m just a hair’s breadth away from a consensus that what I do is horrible.
Guernica has a wonderful interview with graphic novelist Adrian Tomine, whose latest book Killing and Dying was recently released. Tomine talks about the difficulties of capturing the subject matters of race and fatherhood, all while meditating on the challenges of writing through the comic form....more
Guernica has an excerpt from an upcoming collection of letters and interviews by Elena Ferrante, Fragments: On Writing, Reading, and Absence, featuring some beautiful prose on the origins of writing, some slant-eyed answers to questions of identity, and brutal melancholia brought on by her work....more
On Thursday, Guernica’s October issue went live with a fantastical tale of childhood by Sofi Stambo. “A Bunch of Savages,” which was chosen by Aimee Bender to win the Disquiet International Literary Program Award in fiction, follows a maybe gypsy, definitely poor family in Stambo’s native Bulgaria during communism....more
But between publishers’, readers’ (audiences!), editors’, writers’—and, it turns out, MFA students’—definitions, the term “immigrant fiction” has become a muddle, a catchall phrase to describe anything that appears “non-American,” foreign in some way.
Bix Gabriel writes for Guernica on what we categorize as “immigrant fiction” and the limitations of under-defined genre....more
At Guernica, Richard Falk discusses journalism during the Vietnam War and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how remaining ‘objective’ is actually being biased by turning a blind-eye to suffering:
I came to realize that the journalistic ethos as applied to foreign policy was indifferent to the wartime suffering of the enemy population and a humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions.
Walking straight into violence was nothing new to me. I’d learned how to walk deliberately and unflinchingly into violence from my father, like so many other children do in this country.
In fact, in this country we raise all of our children on one form of violence or another.
Revise your summer reading lists, ladies and gentlemen, because this week brought us new issues of Guernica and Asymptote to bump to the top of the pile. Asymptote delivers more of its consistently stunning literature in translation, including a haunting story from the late Uruguayan author Mario Levrero about a very, very strange house....more
Even though liberal arts degrees are actually good for business, Matt Burriesci (author of Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World) believes that supporters of the humanities should lay that argument to rest:
A liberal arts education … may not teach you how to change your oil or program a website, but it prepares you to learn any skill, and most importantly, to question how any task is performed, challenge conventional wisdom, and introduce new processes.
On Tuesday, Knopf released In the Country, the much-anticipated first book by Mia Alvar. The story collection follows characters uprooted by the Filipino diaspora trying to find homes elsewhere or trying to come home again. Born in the Philippines and raised in New York City and Bahrain, Alvar is familiar with that search....more
I’ve always been a late bloomer in some ways, and extremely precocious in other ways. When I was twenty I was living in New York and working a job and could barely bother to be a college student and had my own apartment, but I couldn’t possibly get married before I was thirty-nine.
This is the week of fantastical fiction, of the weird and the magical, of re-imagining fairy tales and urban legends, of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. On Tuesday, a new edition of Angela Carter’s seminal 1979 story collection The Bloody Chamber was released to mark what would have been Carter’s 75th birthday, had she not passed in 1992....more
It was a really big deal for me that a Sri Lankan publisher picked it up. I didn’t grow up there, and I didn’t go through [the war], so there’s always been a question of legitimacy. When I was at the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) workshop in 2011, I had these tremendous concerns: “I’m Sri Lankan, and I’m writing about the war, but I live in America.