Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Ottessa Moshfegh Proves I’m the Zeitgeist

Note: this post was composed almost entirely before nearly every person I know, women or not, carrying a traumatic past or not, was triggered all f-ing day yesterday and most of today by the spectacle of a composed, poised, intelligent woman trying to fight an iceberg of low-information, woman-hating PEOPLE WHO RUN OUR GOVERNMENT. However, perhaps a literary theory-type post celebrating as heroic a woman who withdraws from this constant heartbreak in a yearlong chemical haze may be well-timed?

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TfH’s 1-line reviews

Solo: I’d rather have watched a whole movie about Chewie freeing his enslaved wookie comrades, gently touching foreheads with them, joking freed wookie jokes with them, dancing freed wookie dances at freed wookie parties eating freed wookie electric blue antennaed hor’s oeuvres.

Tully: Our country’s so crap about families that when a whipfirecrackingbadasssssss lady has a surprise third baby, she is in such desperate need of care that her personality cleaves, like a car floor string cheese divided and knotted over onto itself in something like a salty, half-melty, lint-riddled hug.

The Americans series finale: Marriage is hard, but nationalist violence is harder.

The Mars Room: WHY ARE THERE SO MANY STORIES OUT ABOUT PARENTS LOSING THEIR KIDS ABOLISH ICE AND WAREHOUSE THEM ALL WITHOUT RIGHTS OR DIGNITY IN A MAX SEC PRISON IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT PLEASE THANKS

Ursula Le Guin’s Hainish novels and stories (which include The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed): The strand of US ideology encapsulated loosely now as “Trumpism” is terrible, which we’ve known since always but especially since the Vietnam War, and which advancing technology may only reinforce if we don’t put the anthropologists and artists in charge.

 

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Roxane Gay Believes in Love

Readers may already be familiar with Roxane Gay’s primal story: A bookish, awkward 12 year-old girl, obedient daughter of Haitian immigrants, biked with her sexy, controlling, popular boyfriend to a deserted cabin in the woods where he and his friends raped her. She hid this trauma from her family for years and protected herself by doggedly making herself huge, maintaining her size through fat camps, parental distress, and professional peregrination.

She has told and retold this story through her increasingly prominent books, both fiction and nonfiction: An Untamed State, about a Haitian-American woman kidnapped by Haitian dissidents; Bad Feminist, a collection of cultural and political criticism; short story collection Difficult Women; and, most recently Hunger, a memoir that only ostensibly addresses her trauma and its lifelong effects more directly than her other work. Continue reading

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Streetfight: Trumpocalypse Vs Gilead

I read The Handmaid’s Tale this week and anxiously calculated the chances of Atwood’s theocratic/woman-hating coup manifesting in the Donald Duck era.

Atwood’s dystopia sorts women into four classes: Wives (duh), Marthas (domestic servants), Handmaids (pregnancy surrogates for infertile Wives), and Unwomen (“gender traitors” and dissidents). But as Foucault taught us, exceptions to the (gender) rules better enforce the (gender) rules. Though she fears for her life under the brutal regime and is coerced into breaking more and more of its codes, Offred (“Of Fred”) finds herself wresting what pleasure she can out of a system that denies her autonomy, sociality, love. The book is about how much we will give up to stay human.

Thus follows a catalog of qualities our current government may or may not share with Atwood’s Gilead. Which totalitarian, repressive regime wins?

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TfH Reads Harry Potter!

Because I prefer my pop culture moldy, I finally read Harry Potter this month. In 2017. And after months of reading jokes about how Trump is like Voldemort, I’m here to tell you that:

HOLY F**K YOU GUYS TRUMP IS LIKE VOLDEMORT.

Except he’s stupider. And has a nose (I think). And probably can’t talk to snakes (but if he could would the MSM be brave enough to report on it do we need frickin’ crowdfunding to maintain the basic functions of a democratic society’s media infrastructure that could accurately report on the presence of parselmouths in our government?!?!?!?!!?!?!??)

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Book Reviewlet: Maddaddam trilogy, Margaret Atwood

Need a break from the election? Let Margaret Atwood take you to an apocalyptic near-future where biotech companies have taken over all civic functions and disaffected young nerdlingtons plan to destroy all of Earth’s stupid, stupid people.  

Oryx and Crake, the Year of the Flood, and Maddaddam: the Maddaddam trilogy, Atwood’s foray into a surprisingly joyful eco-dystopianism.

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