In Bluebeard’s First Wife, Ha explores big cities and small rural towns where ambition, familial responsibilities, and expectations of marriage coalesce to reveal hidden sides to neighbors, wives, and husbands. The ordinary lives of middle class peoples in such cities and towns gain fairy-tale quality as Janet Hong’s translation renders Ha’s uneasy stories with haunting details and precise prose.
By way of the supernatural, Saunders splices through the content of history textbooks and captures the emotional authenticity that factual accounts will never be able to capture — the gray area that gives space to grief and longing and love.
The collection undertakes—with some success—the difficult job of creating stories that delight while carrying unsettling premises and undertones.
With a long stretch of quarantine behind us and at least a few months of virtual learning still ahead, you have probably found yourself with a free hour or two in between classes where doing your homework sounds as unappealing as looking ahead through your textbook. Why not preoccupy that hour—or three—with one of these queer romances that are guaranteed to make you swoon or maybe, just maybe bring tears to your eyes?
In my story, I supplied characters that cared for my character and asked questions when she wanted to be asked. In my world, she could choose the questions she wanted to answer.
For much of my young adult life, I had a secret. A secret that carried a lot of shame and disappointment. As a person that prided myself on my writing and reading ability from a young age, the circumstances of my secret was devastating. For many years I couldn’t speak of it, even if I was alone.
It’s up to you. I am prepared to stick this out. I am in this for the long haul.
Compliment her, ah, unfettered teaching style. Don’t mention the bewildering feeling you had in her class, one of being erased and reconstituted.
It’s the witching hour, and I am the whittled witch: from lack of sleep, from a long, notched day spent with nothing to show for it save skin that’s been touched raw.
“Spent” came like this—from a feeling, the remorse of only having one life to spend. Even if we hold love in armfuls—real love, true love, good love—there will always be a life you can’t be living, a timeline you’ve left behind.
In the most recent issue of The Kenyon Review, international editor John Kinsella says that “there’s a drive, an enthusiasm, and a shout-out in Australian writing at present that demands it be heard.” Writer Michael Caleb Tasker has lived in Australia for fifteen years and, though not a native of the continent (a problematic phrase itself), he is, I believe, proof of Kinsella’s claim.
The Unseen World grapples with this abstract notion: if memories are the fundamental building blocks to a coherent identity, when one loses these memories or memories are distorted —who does this person become? Who are they in relation to you?
“I….have been able to use reading as both a reprieve from reality, as well as an educational tool to become a more productive version of my isolated self.”
Step 1: Once you are roused from slumber by thoughts of the monumental task at hand, brew some coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, thoughtfully bob a bag of tea into a cup of microwaved water. Optional: Add alcohol to taste.
Berkeley Fiction Review
c/o ASUC Student Union FMO
432 Eshleman, MC 4500
Berkeley, CA 94720
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