[Beattie’s] tenth short fiction collection urges this existential observation: that the homosexual and heterosexual acts are not equivalent; only the latter is the terrifying, potentially co-creative, real thing.
Using the cloak of the erotic novel, which historically has been seen as light entertainment and even farce, Brown’s discussion of body politics, privacy, and surveillance feels remarkably subversive — even as it remains in-your-face, as pornographic text tends to do.
These circular stories are never organized into tidy sequences of events. Rather, they collect data around certain catastrophic experiences that remain nebulous and unknowable.
Throughout this collection, Nickol successfully limns a space between the false and the true, in which the same conclusion — suffering and loneliness — follows from both facts and deceits.
Whilst its opaque perspective draws on modernist tropes of disruption, Pheby’s novel is also crucially a historical novel, and through its depiction of real life events it offers a perspective on the upheavals of the century subsequent to Schreber’s own.
We speak derisively of being slaves to routine, but if all obligations were eliminated, if we were confronted by complete freedom of choice, who among us could honestly say that she would not be paralyzed?
The book is, at its core, an argument, even a challenge: to bypass a country’s literature is to also ignore its history, its people, its love and its pain, and to care about them is to read them.