We need a word for the feeling of being unable to keep up with the art output of all one’s clever friends. Here’s a start. More to come.
- Inscape by Yaa Gyasi – Gifty, a middle-aged literary scholar, must start caring for her Ghanaian mother, who believes she has been tasked by god with writing the next books of the bible. An immigrant and person of lost faith, Gifty revisits a lifetime of identity struggles as she learns her mother anew.
- Tobacconist by Anna Noyes – a short short about a family man who fantasizes about, and then fantasizes about not fantasizing about, the affections of a stranger.
- Woman at Exhibition by E. Lily Yu – I heard Lily read this at ICFA. A woman becomes part of an ambiguous history when she is moved by compulsion to eat an Edward Hopper painting on display at the Whitney. A story about gender politics and relationships between artists.
- Subduction by Paul M. Berger – Oliver has a memory that only goes back four weeks and a compulsion to visit areas of geological instability. The engraved wristwatch he was wearing said he was a hero, but he can’t remember why, so he pawned it. And littering the edges of his incomprehensible life are small things with big teeth that no one else seems to notice.
- The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong – Lily is fifteen, a deckhand on a trawler, and too old to believe anymore the family legend that her mother was a fish. A beautifully written story of disillusionment.
- Unmasking the Glow by Alea Adigwame –Swirling and imagistic rumination on sex work and self regard. “I think, or, at least, like to think, that, at the substratum of my allure, rests an exhaustive knowledge of the contours of shame that permits me, ever increasingly, to revel in the lavishness of my imperfections, instead mincing them into everythingness with an analytical santoku. Self-compassion, I have learned, is communicable.”
- Don’t You Want To Be Normal? by Mary Anne Mohanraj – About the tangled assumptions regarding bodies and femininity that Mary Anne encountered when considering, in light of her breast cancer, whether she wanted to continue being a person who has breasts.
- Interruptions: Roman Singer’s Kitfox Experimental by Ben Mauk – A review in hyperliterate fragments of an art installation in which a plane spins in air, nose pointed down at the people who must choose how to view it from below.
- Farewell to Meat by Ben Mauk – This time Ben is in the Czech Republic to take in Masopust, a traditional carnival discontinued under communism and now resuscitated for tourist dollars. “The rivalry between the towns has been loudly advertised to all newcomers. Now a stage was formed and the villages’ respective bears performed a competitive ritual dance. The mayors delivered impassioned speeches urging peace between the villages while puppets throttled one another in the background.”
- Some Assembly Required by Jessie Hennen – The author sits down in IKEA to record an existential crisis prior to moving back in with her parents.
- Three reviews in Vice by Tony Tulathimutte: East of Main Street: Taking the Lead is a Refreshing Look at Asian-Americans in the Media, The New David Foster Wallace Movie Would Probably Make David Foster Wallace Really Uncomfortable, and Chris Farley and the Weight of Comedy. (The DFW movie review, naturally, is footnoted.)