Describing the Indescribable

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Electric Literature asked four writers to sit down and discuss Lian Hearn’s epic series The Tale of Shikanoko, a work of “historical fantasy” that “defies all easy description or easy understanding.” Here’s what author Kelly Luce had to say about the work:

The world of the Shikanoko books is so richly imagined. The setting itself is novel to us, it is home to the unexpected, and yet it is populated with characters whose motivations and backstories strike an emotional chord. As readers, we then get to sympathize with these familiar feelings in an unfamiliar place. There’s a tension there between world and emotion, a safe and fruitful space. In that space, maybe, is where wonder and play and fun are created—the Fun Primordial Soup.


Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →