In Matsuda’s collection of spooky feminist retellings of Japanese folktales, it isn’t the ghosts or the workplace harassment that provides the jump scares: it’s the material reminder of conformity and meaningless, textureless commodity.
What does it mean to participate in a literature wherein novels and writers are described, as José Donoso laments in The Boom, as “too cosmopolitan, too intellectual . . . absolutely not what is expected from a Spanish American novelist”?
Pamela Erens gracefully brings the isolating effects of childbirth to the forefront of the pregnancy narrative. With Eleven Hours, Erens reminds us of the normalcy of choosing and indulging in solitude.
Their ability to learn at “super-human” speed may be interesting and terrifying, but ultimately, their artifice isn’t what draws us to these stories. Instead, it’s the attempt of these robots to make sense of and perform human emotion in the same ways we do that’s so uncanny and engrossing.