Review of Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green

Originally posted on BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog:

By Erin Morgan Gilbert

marie_ndiaye-green-largerWhere I grew up, green obscured all evidence of human endeavor, softening corners and blotting out other colors. Moss devoured cars and mattresses abandoned in the woods, blanketed roofs, and carpeted the roads. Bodies of water reflected a profound verdancy in their very names: Lake Wilderness, Cedar River, Green River. Even my mother’s eyes were green. Once, she said her favorite color was green too, and I felt disappointed, as if she had admitted to me a secret fatalism, a willingness to disappear into the background. I thought that by allowing the color surrounding us to colonize her personal preferences she was signaling her acceptance of the strict parameters—the poverty and ignorance—that constrained our lives.

Years later, after she died, I found a tiny emerald ring she used to wear, but the gem had cracked. For me, green became associated with loss, but it wasn’t until…

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Book review: Europa Editions

Originally posted on DoHaeng: Writing as a Way of Action:

DSC07478In November, 2013, I was browsing the shelves of Brilliant Books in Traverse City, MI.  There was a stand-alone shelf promoting the books from a single publisher – Europa Editions.

According to the company website, Europa Editions was founded in 2005 and has published books by authors from twenty-six different countries, making it a leading publisher of international fiction.  I believe their most popular title is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by French novelist Muriel Barbery, having spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list.

As I perused the shelf, one title caught my eye.  A Novel Bookstore by French writer, Laurence Cossé.  Usually, when I purchase a book, it is not the next book I read.  However, while in Traverse City, I set aside the short story collection I was into after sampling the first chapter.  Then the second.  Then it became the oddity, violating my…

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Coming to English This Summer: Fadi Zaghmout’s Controversial, Feminist ‘Bride of Amman’

Originally posted on Arabic Literature (in English):

This summer, Fadi Zaghmout’s debut novel, The Bride of Amman, will be released in English, trans. Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp:

d8b9d8b1d988d8b3-d8b9d985d8a7d986-d8b1d988d8a7d98ad8a9When blogger Nadia Muhanna wrote about the book back in 2012, nine months after its release, she gave a sense of Zaghmout’s social project, as well as why the blog-turned-novel had stirred controversy:

In an interview on Royal Jordanian TV channel with writer and blogger Fadi Zaghmout, the presenter referred to a gay character in Zaghmout’s novel ’Arous Amman as shaz (an offensive term to describe gays, similar to faggot). „Muthley,” Zaghmout corrected her using a politically correct word for “homosexual”. By the end of the interview, the presenter was using „LGBT-friendly language”.

But it wasn’t only The Bride of Amman’s content that made it controversial. Again, Muhanna:

Zaghmout divided his novel into short, blog like sections written in a simple language often using colloquial words which made it easy to read and…

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Interview at the incredible magazine, Rain Taxi

Originally posted on The Whimsy of Creation: The Blog of Tieryas:


One of my absolute favorite magazines, Rain Taxi, did this interview with me about Bald New World. I talked influences, science fiction, Bohemian Rhapsody, the life of Leucochloridium paradoxum, getting my wisdom teeth pulled, and whether I’d wear a wig or not if the Baldification actually happened. The winter issue is pretty fantastic and includes an interview with Neil Gaiman, which is awesome in itself, as well as some other great reviews. I’m also really glad they let me take some time answering the questions as I was on a bit of an interview burnout when I initially received it (there’s only so much I can say on the same topic before I run out of new ideas, ha ha). I think it took about six months to reply, but that time also gave me a chance to reflect more on the themes and ideas behind BNW. Big thanks to…

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The Best Thomas Hardy Novels

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wrote 14 novels, so picking a top ten won’t prove too difficult a task. What are the best Thomas Hardy novels? This is undoubtedly going to prove a difficult and controversial issue, but we thought we’d take this chance to select the ten we think are worth reading – and we’ve even ranked the novels in order (and the order, too, is bound to prove controversial). Do you agree with our ordering and general choices? We’ve included some interesting facts about the novels in each description of the novel.

10. Under the Greenwood Tree (1872). Hardy adopted an overtly pastoral title for this, his second published novel. His first, Desperate Remedies (1871), was an example of sensation fiction (a genre more usually identified with Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Wilkie Collins). It didn’t fare particularly well, so Hardy took the title of his next book from a song…

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Danika reviews Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 by MariNaomi

Originally posted on The Lesbrary:


Right off the bat I have to let you know that this isn’t a lesbian book. MariNaomi seems to be attracted to more than one gender, but the vast majority of this book deal with her relationships with boys and men, with the occasional experiment with girls, though there are hints throughout the book that she accepts a queer identity later in her life.

Kiss & Tell is a graphic memoir that spans MariNaomi’s life from childhood to 22, with brief (usually only a page or two, sometimes a handful of pages) stories about each of her romantic interests, whether they lasted a day or years. The art style is similar to Marjane Satrapi’s in Persepolis, and the style and storytelling really grabbed me, even though each story is so brief. By following these romantic interests through the years, we get a sketchy look as her life in general…

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