Jawbone, Monica Ojeda
The Life of the Mind, Christine Smallwood
Igifu, Scholastique Mukasonga
Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Yoko Tawada
The Bridegroom Was a Dog, Yoko Tawada
Through the Woods, Emily Carroll
Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu
Animal Wife, Lara Ehrlich
Dream Sequence, Adam Fagin
Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson
The Rogers prize for best book I've read this year goes to...
The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada!
About, Above, Around, Mark Mayer
Wretchedness, Andrzej Tichy
No Longer Human, Osamu Dazai
Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
First Person Singular, Haruki Murakami
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk
How To Get Into the Twin Palms, Karolina Waclawiak
Lion Cross Point, Masatsugu Ono
Indelicacy, Amina Cain
The Hole, Hiroko Oyamada
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman
The Netanyahus, Joshua Cohen
The Hearing Trumpet, Leonora Carrington
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
Destroy, She Said, Marguerite Duras
The Night Swimmers, Peter Rock
The Book of Monelle, Marcel Schwob
Sleepless Nights, Elizabeth Hardwick
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, Mariana Enriquez
The Weak Spot, Lucie Elven
At Least We Can Apologize, Lee Ki-Ho
Private Citizens, Tony Tulathimutte
Membranes, Chi Ta-wei
The Factory, Hiroko Oyamada
Hurricane Season, Fernanda Melchor
A Private Life, Chen Ran
McGlue, Ottessa Moshfegh
Bartleby the Scrivener, Melville
The Nocilla Triology, Agustin Fernandez Mallo
The Door, Magda Szabo
Dolly City, Orly Castel-Bloom
Lake Like a Mirror, Ho Sok Fong
The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith
Flowers of Mold, Ha Seong-nan
"One by one, I begin to recall all the things she's borrowed from me...Spatula, screwdriver, bottle opener, umbrella, key, garlic press...My husband and son--is she planning not to return them as well? Myeonghui, the woman next door. Who is this stranger?"
Fever Dream, Samanta Schweblin
Fra Keeler, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
"Because just as one cannot discover a treasure without a map, one cannot use reason to find events that are maddening. I should have matched the madness, I thought, I should have maddened myself to match the madness...One needs madness in the mind, I thought...in order to detect madness in the world where it needs to be seen."
Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami
"But what's wrong with having strong nipples? Or dark nipples, for that matter? Who wants their nipples to be cute or pretty? You'd think that, in the world of nipples, it'd be the strong, dark, big ones that would reign supreme. Maybe someday they'll have their moment. But probably not."
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, Patrick Cottrell
I returned this library book before copying my favorite sentence. It was about Fiona Apple and the abyss.
The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa
"When our left legs first disappeared, we were thrown off balance and didn't know how to manage. But once our entire bodies were gone, no one seemed particularly upset. They seemed more coherent now that they had fewer parts, and they adapted easily to the atmosphere of the island, which itself was full of holes. They danced lightly in the air like clumps of dried grass blown along by the wind."
Cockroaches, Scholastique Mukasonga
"...like the most precious part of me, I hold what's left of the lives and the names of all those in Gitwe and Gitagata and Cyohoha who will never be properly buried. The murderers tried to erase everything they were, even any memory of their existence, but, in the schoolchild's notebook that I am now never without, I write down their names. I have nothing left of my family and all the others who died in Nyamata but that paper grave."
"Head Start," Dorothy Tse
"Through the half-opened door, Shellman saw a child, surely not yet ten years old, lying on the floor completely naked, tied up like a dog with a chain attached to a hoop around its neck. The other end of the chain was securely embedded in the wall, and its length was such that the child’s arm could not quite reach a dish of mushy food placed on the floor nearby. At the sight of Shellman, the child stopped sobbing and launched into full-throttle shrieks.
It was not an especially unusual scene. As far as Region C-ers are concerned, there’s no real difference between a child without a head start and a wild animal."
The Lover, Marguerite Duras
"I see the war as I see my childhood. I see wartime and the reign of my elder brother as one...I see the war as like him, spreading everywhere, breaking in everywhere, stealing, imprisoning, always there, merged and mingled with everything, present in the body, in the mind, awake and asleep, all the time, a prey to the intoxicating passion of occupying that delightful territory, a child's body, the bodies of those less strong, of conquered peoples. Because evil is there, at the gates, against the skin."
Ladivine, Marie NDiaye
"...but why, feeling her own blood throbbing in her temples, why did the honeyed perfume of light, frothy yellow-white linden flowers always remind her of what she hadn't seen but a thousand times imagined, her mother's blood brutally, abundantly spilled in the living room of her Langon house, untouched until then by anything violent or out of place?"
Erasure, Percival Everett
"I never tried to set anybody free, never tried to paint the next real and true picture of the life of my people, never had any people whose picture I knew well enough to paint. Perhaps if I had written in the time immediately following Reconstruction, I would have written to elevate the station of my fellow oppressed. But the irony was beautiful. I was a victim of racism by virtue of my failing to acknowledge racial difference and by failing to have my art be defined as an exercise in racial self-expression."
Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, Cathy Park Hong
"Minor Feelings occur when American optimism is enforced upon you, which contradicts your own racialized reality, thereby creating a static of cognitive dissonance...Minor feelings are also the emotions we are accused of having when we decide to be difficult--in other words, when we decide to be honest. When minor feelings are finally externalized, they are interpreted as hostile, ungrateful, jealous, depressing, affects ascribed to racialized behavior that whites consider out of line."
Monkey, Wu Cheng En, tr. Arthur Waley
"If it were just a matter of playing football with the firmament, stirring up the ocean, turning back rivers, carrying away mountains, seizing the moon, turning the Pole-star or shifting a planet, I could manage it easily enough. Even if it were a question of my head being cut off and the brain removed or my belly ripped open and my heart cut out, or any kind of transference or transformation, I would take on the job at once," said Monkey. "But if it comes to sitting still and meditating, I am bound to come off badly."
Revenge, Yoko Ogawa
"My foot caught on something and I stumbled again, managing to catch myself on a large, double-door stainless refrigerator, the kind from a restaurant kitchen. It was spattered here and there with bird droppings.
I opened the doors--and I found someone inside. Legs neatly folded, head buried between the knees, curled ingeniously to fit between the shelves and the egg box.
'Excuse me,' I said, but my voice seemed to disappear into the dark.
It was my body. In this gloomy, cramped box, I had eaten poison plants and died, hidden away from prying eyes.
Crouching down at the door, I wept. For my dead self."
Women Talking, Miriam Toews
"The bishop and the elders of Molotschna have seized power over the ordinary men and women of Molotschna, she states. And the ordinary men have seized power over the ordinary women of Molotschna. And the ordinary women of Molotschna have seized power over...Ona pauses. The women are silent.
Nothing, says Ona, but our souls."
The Chili Bean Paste Clan, Yan Ge
"Chen rhythmically stirred the beans as if this was a witches' brew: slow, slow, quicker, a couple flicks of the wrist, slowing down again, until the sludge gave off quick liquid moans and exuded flaming red chili oil. A strong musky odor rose into the air and Dad, as he stood staring in the fermentation yard, got an erection.
Needless to say, in the fullness of time, Dad became a pretty good stirrer. He reckoned he was pretty good at fucking women too."
trans(re)lating house one, poupeh missaghi
"Dreams must be spoken and included in these (hi)stories--of mine, of ours, of hers, of theirs--because they are our most autonomous creation. A reminder that no matter how hard they try, and no matter how hard we try, we will continue to translate and write our lives, in languages neither they nor we can fully understand. This is our power...It is not I, not even the conscious I, but the ancient, unknowable, unconscious one, who, in conversation with the totality of my being, is the sole creator of my dreams. Whatever happens out there, she is still directing the dreams, dreams that do not just recite pasts but prophesize futures. Dreams are maps that forever write and translate themselves, guiding us into and away from ourselves."
Atlanta: Season One
Written By: Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Stefani Robinson, Jamal Olori
I've only watched season one so far, but this show is one of the the best American short story collections ever. It's humorous, sad, relentlessly critical. Amazing characterization. My favorite kind of satire. Genius.
Tokyo Ueno Station, Yu Miri
"I thought that once I was dead I would be reunited with the dead. That I could see, close up, those who were far away...I thought that something would be resolved by death...But then that I realized I was back in the park. I was not going anywhere. I had not understood anything, I was still stunned by the same numberless doubts, only I was now outside of life looking in, as someone who has lost the capacity to exist, now ceaselessly thinking, ceaselessly feeling--"
Rose Mellie Rose, Marie Redonnet
"I was still on the pier when the fishermen came. They asked me what I was doing there all alone in my wedding dress. So I told them about Yem's leaving and about the channel he wants to follow to the end. The fishermen shook their heads. They say the channel only exists in legends. They think I was wrong to marry Yem. But I do not think like they do. I was right to marry Yem, no matter what the fishermen think. They don't understand anything about the Queen of the Fairies."
That We May Live, Chinese Speculative Fiction, a beautiful anthology from Two Lines Press
From Dorothy Tse's "Sour Meat"
"The room was not just hot, it was humid...And the moisture was coming from her own body; it wasn't sweat, it was meat stock, flowing from her pores. The sour smell in the room had become so overpowering that F imagined herself in the belly of the building, slowly dissolving into its stomach juices."
The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other stories, Franz Kafka
"Gregor, attracted by the playing, ventured to move forward a little until his head was actually inside the living room...fluff and hair and remnants of food trailed with him, caught on his back and along his sides; his indifference to everything was much too great for him to turn on his back and scrape himself clean on the carpet, as once he had done several times a day. And in spite of his condition, no shame deterred him from advancing a little over the spotless floor of the living room."
Molloy, Samuel Beckett
"And if all muck is the same muck that doesn't matter, it's good to have a change of muck, to move from one heap to another a little further on, from time to time, fluttering you might say, like a butterfly, as if you were ephemeral."
The Yellow House, Sarah M. Broom
Growing Up, Higuchi Ichiyo
Bunny, Mona Awad
Oreo, Fran Ross
Outline, Rachel Cusk
Full House, Yu Miri (When will someone translate Family Cinema? I need to read it now!!)
Toddler Hunting, Taeko Kono
Notes of a Crocodile, Qiu Miaojin
The Vegetarian, Han Kang
Corregidora, Gayle Jones
Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata
Shanghai Baby, Wei Hui
Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward (third time)
Mean, Myriam Gurba
Sidewalks, Valeria Luiselli
The Exquisite, Laird Hunt
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger (Again.)
Territory of Light, Yuko Tsushima
We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo
The Farming of Bones, Edwidge Danticaat
Thick, Tressie McMillan Cottom
Goodbye Tsugumi, Banana Yoshimoto
The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Mark Twain
Woman Running in the Mountains, Yuko Tsushima
Survival in Auschwitz, Primo Levi
The Shadow King, Mazaa Mengiste
Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
Census, Jesse Ball
Milkman, Anna Burns
Sweet Days of Discipline, Fleur Jaeggy
Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi
The Chinese in America, Iris Chang
Love in a Fallen City, Eileen Chang
The Complete Stories of Lu Xun
Tales of Hulan River, Xiao Hong
The Heads of the Colored People, Nafissa Thompson-Spires
An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro
Disgrace, JM Coetzee
Austerlitz, W.G. Sebald
The Book of Salt, Monique Truong
The Impossibly, Laird Hunt
Edinburgh, Alexander Chee
Loving Day, Mat Johnson
Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh
Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang
Sing, Unburied Sing, Jesmyn Ward
Maus, Art Spiegelman
A Feather on the Breath of God, Sigrid Nunez