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It only took a few pages of Psalm for the Wild Built to make me fall asleep every night, and I’m convinced that’s the best way to read it. It’s like pickled ginger root after a spicy tuna roll, but think more like purging the taste of electronics and anxieties from your palate. Dex, an agendered tea monk in a post-electronic world where robots accidentally gained awareness and retreated to the wilderness, travels around Panga in search of a purpose. There has been no interaction between humans and robots for centuries. Things get interesting for Dex when they suddenly abandon their tea monk calling and encounter a robot in the wilds, straight out of what has become folklore. The two of them seek out to learn something from the other. It’s difficult not to read these interactions as commentary on capitalism. For Dex, who has ostensibly been removed from our contemporary woes, a chance encounter with a robot from the “Factory Era” unearths the lingering trauma of capitalism. At its core Chambers is offering a hopeful picture of what a post-capitalist society might look like, and suggests that an antidote may be living without a purpose at all.
Like many Ishiguro books, for the most part it was boring and quiet. The language was plain. It is worth reading if you'd like to practice what it is to become more aware of where you are.
Lauren Redniss won a "genius grant" for her work in threading non-fiction, reporting, and art. What could be contrived is seamless and bare of pretense. Highly recommended if you have an interest in experimental non-fiction and Native American history.
Too often translation is taken merely as a tool. Don Mee Choi rebukes this blind act, and in a blend of poetry and journalism, reminds us that translation is always a project that engages the core of history. As Choi puts it, translation recognizes that "history is ever arriving."
A speculative and Kafkaesque blend of Han Kang's The Vegetarian and Fahrenheit 451. If you're curious what the world would be like if Cannibalism was legalized and regulated, then give this book a try. Agustina Bazterrica won the Premio Clarín de Novela for this book, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Latin America.
If you like experiments in genre, poetics, and queer topics--this is for you.