Parker took a slow sip, the whiskey burning his throat. ‘I never thought it would come to this. I never thought it would go this long.’
Anna leaned into Parker’s shoulder and closed her eyes. ‘Pride does things to time,’ she said.
Despite the “grotesquerie of courtship rituals” they present, Roxane Gay enjoys watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, in part because, as she explains, they hearken back to America’s Puritan origins. In The New York Times, the essayist, novelist and Year in Reading alum reflects on a guilty pleasure.
Tuesday New Release Day
New this week: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; American Innovations by Rivka Galchen; The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham; The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry; An Untamed State by Rumpus editor and Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay; Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo; The Painter by Peter Heller; and Friday Was the Bomb by Millions contributor Nathan Deuel.
It’s not often that a writer has an essay collection and a debut novel come out in the space of a few months, but that’s exactly the situation of Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay, whose novel An Untamed State and collection Bad Feminist are both getting published this year. At Bookforum, Margaret Weppler reads An Untamed State,which displays, she writes, “a staggering sense of strength, confidence and integrity.”
The essay is more popular than ever. At Salon, talks to Leslie Jamison (author of The Empathy Exams, here’s our review) and Roxane Gay (author of the forthcoming Bad Feminist) about the power of the genre. Gay believes our interest in essays is because of a “cultural preoccupation with the exposure of the self.” They also discuss if we’re in a golden age of women essayists. “Sometimes when men write about private feeling, it’s seen as exploratory or daring, and when women write about private feeling it’s seen as limited or in the vein of a kind of circumscribed emotional writing,” Jamison says.
My brother says men who are afraid of girls are gay, but Jason Miller isn’t gay. When I roll onto my back and see him staring at me, I also see a rise in his swim trunks. Last week, I saw him at the Skate & Bowl with some of his friends. He’s the best-looking of the bunch so you can imagine how ugly his friends are. They were all bowling and really getting into it like total fucking losers. I mean honestly, it’s bowling. My dad bowls. Bowling is the only thing that makes him happy but he’s old so he has an excuse. These guys are like 19 or 20 and bowling makes them happy. There’s no hope.
"The writing was so deliberate and satisfying, and I love when a writer fully commits to a premise. To wit: early in the book, Celeste Price marks her classroom with her vaginal juices, so she might better seduce one of the unsuspecting boys in her eighth grade class. As I read this scene, I literally gasped because I had never seen anything like it."
I worried that my writing would be pigeonholed when I began writing in my twenties. After years of writing and seeing my work either ignored or pigeonholed, I realized constant worry about how I was perceived would drive me crazy. I realized that I could only be who I am: Black and a woman and a writer, and that I could only do one thing: strive to write the best damn story I can. The rest is out of my control.
Rather than thinking about diversity as this vague yet complicated notion, I like the idea of looking for urgent, unheard stories. This fall, many such stories abound from writers of color.