These two very different novels explore issues of race, gender, and the history of white supremacy in the U.S.
The publisher calls it a textualized slasherbrought to you in moldy technicolor splendorsure to fuel your nightmares for years to come, and every page of Run-Off Sugar Crystal Lake delivers on that threatening promise. Berry and I corresponded over email in late summer of 2021, one of the hottest on record, and a time during which (like most of recorded history and like slasher movies themselves) human beings were inflicting astonishing violence upon one another with no signs of stopping.
Joshua Cohen is one of those hyper-literate, glasses-wearing polyglot penmen, a writer who reads everything and whose work harks back to writers of a certain curiosity like Barthes and Gaddis, yes, and David Foster Wallace of course; and, at times, earlier in his career, Cohen flaunted a wandering, wondering intellectual gait redolent in its momentum of that most elusive of postmodernists, James McElroy, New Yorker know-it-all who bombards loyal readers with his fusillade of voices, sentences twisted serpentine.
These two new fictions reveal profound differences, and each in its way deserves applause. Marcus Pactors short stories prove kooky yet touching, while Marc Anthony Richardsons novel has a nightmare impact, a gathering heartbreak.
A recent list of the New York Times top fifteen bestsellers includes books by three TV hosts, two political commentators who often appear on TV, a sports journalist, a rock star, an actor, a Hollywood actress, an activist, and a CEO of a major corporation.
If youre a youngish Asian American like me, you can likely dredge up memories of being dragooned to test prep or tutoring sessions. Housed in spartan rooms with the obligatory Scantron machine, these may have been academies for the SAT, PSAT, AP, and ACT or aggressively accredited courses to give you an edge over other applicants to private or feeder schools. Acres of paper would be distributed, from pallets of practice questions to flash cards and take-home exercises. Classes were set to the metronome of drills. At some point, the instructor might airily toss off a bit of advice for the clueless: if in doubt, just bubble in all of the abovewhatever the question, there was a good chance that was the right choice.
In her second novel, the rambunctious and moving Carry the Dog, Gangi shows us how uncovering the truth to our past can push us to live better lives in the present.