Reflection, Imagination, Possibility: Lianne La Havas’ Blood

Lianne La Havas—a British girl of Jamaican and Greek heritage (her Greek father was a musician)—has been a part of music scenes large and small (associated at one time or another with Paloma Faith, Bon Iver, Alicia Keys, and Prince); and her work has won her critical respect and popularity. Yet, though young, recognized, and rewarded, there she has had to fight for her integrity.

Interview with Marie Darrieussecq

I caught up with Marie Darrieussecq at the Sydney Writers Festival and we talked about such things as her latest novel Men, her characters Solange and Kouhouesso, on the glitz of the city and being an outsider, on passion vs love, her research process, on finding the right voice, and lots more.

A review of Men by Marie Darrieussecq

Solange’s journey is one that takes her into her own heart of darkness, where she finds her limitations, her humiliations and restrictions, and the cultural, political, gendered and racial stereotypes through which she has defined herself. Throughout the novel she begins to unravel these, unwinding herself slowly until she is temporarily removed altogether as subject.

A review of The Diary of Norman K by Dimitrios Ikonomou

It takes strength of character to pursue, and create, human wretchedness in all its shapes for 360 pages. Like many unreliable narrators before him, Norman K ranges from obnoxious to villainous in his pretension, and The Diary of Norman K shows how uniquely we puts on airs, down to a style of speech best described by his “friend” Russell as “an Elizabethan aristocrat who had just woken up from a two-hundred-year coma.

A review of Good Globe by Shelby Simpson

Simpson’s writing style is informal and conversational—the entire book reads like a girlfriend recounting tales of her latest travel adventures over a few cocktails on a night out. The way Simpson tells it, hopping on a plane to an exotic locale is No Big Deal—if you do it right. She stresses that traveling takes some advance budgeting and planning, but when you reach your destination, there’s a lot to be said for taking each day as it comes.

In Lust We Trust: The Blackest Eye by the music band Aye Nako

Every generation asks and answers its own questions—and those become culture, history. Aye Nako’s The Blackest Eye considers how matters of self are shaped by world matters—especially regarding class, race, gender, and sexuality. “Leaving the Body” has a fast, thrashing introduction, churning, dense, spinning, with lyrics in which a narrator recognizes bad influence but also claims her own spoilage.