- The Black Witch, a YA novel set in a misogynistic and racist society with an unlikeable main character, has received a ton of controversy. Today, I read the Vulture piece about the backlash but I still need to read the original criticism that was the rallying cry for the book’s critics. I’m fascinated by the whole thing, the book’s author has really hit a nerve here and the reaction has shown the power and limitations of social media when it comes to literary criticism.
- Finished reading The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid about a genetically modified humanoid named Nemesis, a killing machine that looks like a teenaged girl. The author has described the book as I, Claudius set in space, and I can definitely see the merit in that. Reminded me a lot of Red Rising with the revolution plot against an oppressive society and government, the main character’s attempts at concealing their true nature, and the court intrigue of a decadent society with violence ready to erupt from beneath its shallow surface. The books would be interesting to compare side-by-side because of gender swapping of the characters and how they handle certain situations. Both are satisfying and made me want to beat my chest, gather comrades, and overthrow something.
- Went to the library today and walked away with:
- Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (author of Dumplin’)
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Margaret Atwood is an author who I will give the benefit of doubt and read anything she writes. Her blending of feminism and speculative fiction (her term)/science fiction (generally recognized) is satisfying. Her versions of a not-so-distant future are never too far from the present which makes them even more harrowing. They seem possible and because of that all the more urgent.
How could I not read The Heart Goes Last? It’s her first speculative fiction outside of her fabulous Maddaddam Trilogy. Be cautioned, the advertising around this novel is misleading. This isn’t a new book. Atwood initially published the book as a string of serial stories on Byliner beginning with I’m Starved for You and ending with The Heart Goes Last. The book appears to be a compilation of these stories with some light editing for its final format.
In The Visitors Lucy is recovering from a typhoid fever in Egypt with her American governess at her side. She is listless and unable to focus on the living until she meets and befriends Frances Winlock whose father is an archaeologist. Soon she becomes part of a crowd which includes Howard Carter, Lord Carnavon, and others who discover King Tut’s tomb. This discovery mold’s Lucy’s life.
A bleak book crowded with historical figures and events. The discovery takes place in the 1920s, but the book dwells in the disastrous events afterwards and follows Lucy to her old-age. There are so many disasters and ghosts. Beauman appears to be grieving for an age of exploration and adventure that is long past. I couldn’t help but wish that this book had more joy in it and less history.