weekend reading

unbound

This month’s featured fiction from Covered w/ Fur is Two Stories by Kiik A.K. The first story, All Your Sweet Babes, is about a farm of stray dogs. The second, The Season of Hair, is about very long hair. But really, they are both about Asian American relocation and internment during the second world war. The stories work together to carefully construct an image of dislocation and bring light to how loss (of home, family, friends, animals) manifests in the psyche.

Also check out their not-fiction, Disaster Recovery, by Matt Weinkam. It’s a short reflective essay that compares the author’s own emptied, post-broken heart with a re-purposed limestone mine, Iron Mountain. Once a productive limestone quarry, Iron Mountain is now an empty hole in the ground, filled with financial records and papers quietly anticipating a technological collapse. Weinkam says, “I understand the instinct. I too have hidden a second self in the space left by heartbreak. I protect a part of who I am, keep it locked away as a failsafe against future catastrophe.” [Covered w/ Fur]

A Bunch of Savages, by Sofi Stambo, is an unusual short story full of unexpected turns. The narrator is one of three children living in a small apartment with her parents and siblings in Bulgaria. She is convinced her mother is a gypsy, mostly as determined by her own birthmark above her butt cheek, and her mother’s choice in brightly colored clothing, thick dark eye make-up, and long dark hair. In a family of dysfunction–parental fighting, childhood barbarism, general uproarious noise–she pines for privacy. That’s how she came to the turn of events that left her with a compulsion for suicide. This is a superstitious story, an unpredictable story of sudden turns and strange happenings, but it is NOT a sad story. Don’t be deterred. [Guernica]

This essay, What’s in a Name? by Dickson Lam, is an exploration of the meaning of names and the power we ascribe to them. There are birth names, nicknames, right-of-passage names, family names, marriage names, graffiti names, and so on and so on.  Names grant power. Sometimes it’s the power of concealment, sometimes of union or separation; it can be the power of wealth or reputation, or the assurance of a new beginning. Sometimes a name is a form of representation; to name yourself to show how you want to be perceived. The truth is that names themselves give meaning, and Lam does an extraordinary job detailing his relationship with his own name/s. [Kenyon Review]

Read this poem by Mary Jo Bang, Ode to History. [Paris Review]

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